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Electrotherapy in Adults with Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome

Three Part Question

[In] adult patients with greater trochanteric pain syndrome [does] electrotherapy [improve] pain?

Clinical Scenario

A patient is referred for physiotherapy with greater trochanteric pain syndrome and you wonder if electrotherapy modalities will be beneficial in improving pain.

Search Strategy

Medline 1996-3-06/11, CINAHL 1982-06/11, AMED 1985-06/11, EMBASE 1996-06/11, via the OVID interface. In addition Cochrane database was searched.
Medline, CINAHL, AMED, EMBASE: [{(Trochanteric Bursitis OR Trochanteric Pain Syndrome OR Secondary Piriformis Bursitis OR Subgluteus Medius Bursitis OR Subgluteus Minimus Bursitis OR Secondary Subgluteus Minimus Bursitis OR Deep Subgluteus Maximus Bursitis OR Superficial Subgluteus Maximus Bursitis OR Secondary Deep Subgluteus Maximus Bursitis OR Lateral Hip Pain OR Gluteofemoral Bursitis AND Electrotherapy OR Laser OR Therapeutic Ultrasound OR TENS OR Megapulse OR Curapulse OR PSWD OR PSWT OR Interferential})]
Cochrane: Lateral Hip Pain, Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome.

Search Outcome

10 unique papers were retrieved. All of these were discarded. 1 was a protocol only, 5 were non trochanteric bursitis specific, 2 were non specific to electrotherapy, and 2 were discarded as they were single subject case studies only.


There are only two studies available looking into electrotherapy, in trochanteric bursitis, in adults. Both of these studies are case studies only (n=1). As this is very weak evidence, it was considered inappropriate to use these papers for the purposes of a best bet. More robust studies are required before recommending electrotherapy in adults with trochanteric pain syndrome.

Clinical Bottom Line

There is no robust evidence behind the use of electrotherapy in adults with trochanteric pain syndrome.