What is Hip Bursitis?

  • Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa.
  • There are two major bursae in the hip that typically become irritated and inflamed.
  • Bursae, are small, jelly-like sacs that are located throughout the body, including around the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel.

Bursae, are small, jelly-like sacs located throughout the body, including around the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel. They are positioned between bones and soft tissues, and contain a small amount of fluid which acts as cushions to help reduce friction.

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. The hip has two major bursae that can become irritated and inflamed. One bursa covers the bony point of the hip bone called the greater trochanter. Inflammation of this bursa is called tronchanteric bursitis.

The other bursa, the iliopsoas bursa is located on the inside (groin side) of the hip. When this bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is also sometimes referred to as hip bursitis, but the pain is located in the groin area. This condition is not as common as trochanteric bursitis, but is treated in a similar manner.

Our Treatment Approach

Nonsurgical Treatment

Many people with hip bursitis can find relief with simple lifestyle changes, including:
  • Activity modification.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Assistive devices. Use of a walking cane or crutches for a week or more when needed.
  • Physical therapy. Your doctor may prescribe exercises to increase hip strength and flexibility..
  • Steroid injection. Injection of a corticosteroid along with a local anesthetic may also be helpful in relieving symptoms of hip bursitis.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is rarely needed for hip bursitis. Your doctor may recommend surgical removal of the bursa if the bursa remains inflamed and painful after all nonsurgical treatments have been tried. Removal of the bursa does not hurt the hip, and the hip can function normally without it.

Causes

Hip bursitis can affect anyone, but is more common in women and middle-aged or elderly people.The following risk factors have been associated with the development of hip bursitis.

  • Repetitive stress (overuse) injury.
  • Hip injury.
  • Spine disease. This includes scoliosis, arthritis of the lumbar (lower) spine, and other spine problems.
  • Leg-length inequality. When one leg is significantly shorter than the other, it affects the way you walk, and can lead to irritation of a hip bursa.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Previous surgery.
  • Bone spurs or calcium deposits. These can develop within the tendons that attach muscles to the trochanter. They can irritate the bursa and cause inflammation

Symptoms

The main symptom of trochanteric bursitis is pain at the point of the hip. In the early stages, the pain is usually described as sharp and intense and it usually extends to the outside of the thigh area.  Later, the pain may become more of an ache and spread across a larger area of the hip.

Typically, the pain is worse at night, when lying on the affected hip, and when getting up from a chair after being seated for a while. It also may get worse with prolonged walking, stair climbing, or squatting.

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