Tears in the gluteus medius (or gluteus minimus) tendon are often overlooked on the MRI and mistaken for Greater Trochanteric Bursitis.
Patients would have had a cortisone injection or two, with only limited relief. Physical therapy may have been ineffective in eliminating the pain. Weakness with abduction (lifting the leg out to the side) is not common but can be a sign of more significant tearing. The diagnosis is confirmed by physical examination: tenderness at the greater trochanter and also by a high quality MRI.
Surgical treatment of chronic tendonitis or tears of the gluteus medius tendon includes hip arthroscopy, debridement or repair with sutures. This used to be an open surgery, but can now be done safely with a couple of small punctures in the skin.
The rehabilitation after a gluteus medius debridement or repair is not very demanding. Often patients are weight bearing quickly and within a few months may resume activities with the expectation of full recovery.