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Can a shoe insert ease hip pain in women? UC researchers will find out

15 March 2019: Researchers at the University of Canberra hope to help alleviate debilitating hip pain in women, with a new study that will look at whether orthotic inserts can effectively address the problem.

Experienced in the outside of the upper thigh, Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS) – previously known as ‘bursitis’ – can greatly affect quality of life, limiting the ability to walk or engage in exercise or other physical activity, and resulting in sleep deprivation.

“It’s more common in women than in men, with one in four women over 50 suffering from GTPS,” said Clinical Assistant Professor of Physiotherapy Dr Angie Fearon, who will be supervising the project.

“People with this condition can be as affected as those with end-stage osteoarthritis, which is when they usually need a hip replacement.”

GTPS is caused by tissue damage, which can result from poor positioning of the foot when walking.

Bachelor of Physiotherapy student Jayden Hunter will investigate whether using shoe inserts (orthotics) can alleviate this hip pain by adjusting that foot positioning, and reducing the strain on muscles and tendons while walking.

“Currently, the most common form of treatment for GTPS is a cortisone injection,” said Dr Fearon. “This doesn’t address the underlying problem and multiple cortisone injections can have a detrimental effect on cells.”

“Orthotics are affordable, accessible and non-invasive, and there is currently no research on the role they may play in addressing this kind of pain. We are hoping to fill this gap.”

The research team is looking for women with hip pain to take part in the study.

Motion capture technology will be used to film participants walking on a flat surface for approximately 100 metres, using different orthotics.

Participants will then continue to use the shoe insert for four weeks, to see if hip pain is reduced.

People interested in taking part in the study can contact Dr Angie Fearon or Dr Jaquelin Bousie.

Interviews are available by request.

Contact the University of Canberra media team:

Suzanne Lazaroo
0409 140 415

Andy Visser
0414 260 417