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Hip Bursitis/Trochanteric Bursitis

Hip Bursitis (Trochanteric bursitis) is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs called bursae at outside of the hip called the greater trochanter. Bursae cushion your bones, tendons, and muscles at the hip joint and when this bursa becomes inflamed, it causes hip pain.

Causes of Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. It can affect anyone, but is more common amongst women, older adults or those with a previous hip injury.

The following are more commonly associated with the development of hip bursitis:

  • Overuse injury: Runners, cyclists or people who stand for long periods of time can be susceptible to developing hip bursitis.
  • Hip injury: A previous injury to the point of the hip can later develop into hip bursitis
  • Spine disorders: A spinal deformity such as scoliosis, arthritis of the lumbar spine, and other spine problems.
  • Inflammatory conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, or other problems that irritate the bursa and lead to inflammation.
  • Leg length unevenness: If one leg is significantly shorter than the other this can lead to irritation of the hip bursa.
  • Previous surgery: Surgery around the hip or hip replacement implants can irritate the bursa and cause bursitis.
  • Bone spurs or calcium deposits: Bone growths can develop within the tendons and attach themselves to the trochanter which can cause the bursa to become irritated and inflamed leading to bursitis.

There are two major types of hip bursae that can become irritated or inflamed: the trochanteric bursa and iliopsoas bursa.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling achy or stiff
  • Experiencing more pain when you move or press the irritated hip
  • A swollen, red appearance

Diagnosing Hip Bursitis

Your hip surgeon will take a medical history and perform a thorough physical exam to diagnose your hip pain. Further diagnostic imaging such as X-Rays or MRI scans may be necessary to properly diagnose your condition since hip bursitis can commonly be mistaken for hip tendonitis since both conditions can present with swelling and discomfort around the hip joint.

Hip Bursitis Treatment

Non-surgical Treatment for Hip Bursitis

In most cases, hip bursitis does not involve surgery. Many people can benefit from nonsurgical treatment and lifestyle changes including:

  • Activity Modification: Avoid activities and sports that worsen symptoms
  • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Assistive Devices: Using a cane or crutches can help avoid full weight bearing on the affected hip.
  • Physical therapy: Hip stretches and strengthening exercises can help relieve pain. Massage, ice, heat and ultrasound may also be used by a physical therapist to help relieve pain.
  • Steroid injections: A cortisone injection is a common treatment that reduces inflammation and can be helpful in relieving symptoms of hip bursitis.

Surgical Treatment for Hip Bursitis

Surgery is rarely needed to treat hip bursitis. If conservative treatments have been tried and symptoms persist over a 6-to-12-month period, your hip surgeon may recommend surgery. Surgery involves removal of the inflamed bursa. The hip can function normally without the bursa.

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