La Trobe
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Does menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), exercise or a combination of both, improve pain and function in post-menopausal women with greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS)? A randomised controlled trial

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Background: Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) is pathology in the gluteus medius and minimus tendons and trochanteric bursa that causes debilitating tendon pain and dysfunction, particularly in post-menopausal women. Limited evidence in clinical studies suggests hormone changes after menopause may have a negative effect on tendon. This protocol describes a randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and exercise therapy in reducing pain and dysfunction associated with GTPS in post-menopausal women. Method: One hundred and sixteen post-menopausal women will be recruited and randomised to receive one of two exercise programs (sham or targeted intervention exercise) and transdermal creams (MHT cream containing oestradiol 50mcg and norethisterone acetate 140mcg or placebo cream). Interventions will be 12-weeks in duration and outcomes will be examined at baseline, 12-weeks and 52-weeks. The primary outcome measure will be the VISA-G questionnaire and secondary outcomes measures will include three hip pain and function questionnaires (Hip dysfunction and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Oxford Hip Score, Lateral Hip Pain questionnaire), a global change in symptom questionnaire (using a 15-point Likert scale) and a quality of life measure (AQoL-8D questionnaire). Data will be analysed using the intention to treat principle. Discussion: This study is the first randomised controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of menopausal hormone therapy therapy alone, and with the combination of exercise therapy, to treat pain and dysfunction associated with GTPS. This study has been pragmatically designed to ensure that the interventions in this study can be integrated into policy and clinical practice if found to be effective in the treatment of GTPS in post-menopausal women. If successful, there is potential for this treatment regimen to be explored in future studies of other persistent tendon conditions in the post-menopausal population. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614001157662Registered 31 October 2014.


CG acknowledges the Australian Postgraduate Award scheme and the Graduate Assistantship program at La Trobe University for her PhD scholarship funding. This study was supported by the Australian Centre for Research into Sports injury and its Prevention, which is one of the international research centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).CG, JC, AS and TP received funding from Arthritis Australia (peer reviewed), the Physiotherapy Research Foundation (peer reviewed) and La Trobe University Melbourne, Australia (peer reviewed). Funding bodies were not involved in the design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


Publication Date



BMC Women's Health



Article Number





BioMed Central Ltd, Springer Nature



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© 2016 Ganderton et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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