Trochanteric Bursitis (hip bursitis)
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What is Hip Bursitis and how to treat it

What is it?

Hip bursitis is when the bursa (fluid-filled sacs) over the greater trochanter (the bony prominence over the outside of the hip) becomes inflamed and painful.

How is it caused?

Although it can affect men and women of any age, trochanteric bursitis is most common in middle aged women. The inflammation in the bursa is caused by microscopic tears in the flat tendons which attach to the trochanter. Trochanteric pain may also occur in athletes and runners as a result of excessive tension in the iliotbial band, the thick band of tissue which runs over the trochanter from the pelvis to the knee. Bursitis may also follow surgery to the hip.

What are the symptoms?

These include pain over the trochanter, which may spread to the buttock. It is typically worst when you are lying on the affected side in bed.

How is it diagnosed?

After a medical examination and discussion of your symptoms, a diagnosis can be confirmed using ultrasound or MRI scans, although X-rays or other types of scans may be necessary to exclude other diagnoses. Occasionally, significant tendon tears are shown on the MRI scan.

How is it treated?

Non-operative treatment: this involves stopping activities that make the pain worse and taking anti-inflammatory medication if advised by your doctor. Using a walking stick can also help relieve pain. You may also be given a targeted rehabilitation programme that includes exercises to stretch and strengthen your hip. In some cases, you may be offered steroid injections to provide temporary or permanent relief.

Surgery: it is very unusual to have surgery for bursitis but, if non-operative treatment hasn’t helped the condition, you can have a procedure to remove the bursa using arthroscopy. This is usually carried out as an outpatient day-case procedure.

Important

This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Every person is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.