Analysis of the sensory innervations of the greater trochanter for improving the treatment of greater trochanteric pain syndrome



In medical practice, greater trochanteric pain syndrome has an incidence of 5.6 per 1,000 adults per year, and affects up to 25% of patients with knee osteoarthritis and low back pain in industrialized nations. It also occurs as a complication after total hip arthroplasty. Different etiologies of the pain syndrome have been discussed, but an exact cause remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to obtain a better understanding of the sensory innervations of the greater trochanter in attempt to improve the treatment of this syndrome. Therefore, we dissected the gluteal region of seven adult and one fetal formalin fixed cadavers, and both macroscopic and microscopic examination was performed. We found a small sensory nerve supply to the periosteum and bursae of the greater trochanter. This nerve is a branch of the n. femoralis and accompanies the arteria and vena circumflexa femoris medialis and their trochanteric branches to the greater trochanter. This nerve enters the periosteum of the greater trochanter directly caudal to the tendon of the inferior gemellus muscle. This new anatomical information may be helpful in improving therapy, such as interventional denervation of the greater trochanter or anatomically guided injections with corticosteroids and local anesthetics. Clin. Anat. 25:1080–1086, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.