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Trochanteric Bursitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

The primary function of the hip is to support the weight of the body while standing, walking or running. The hip joint, between the femur and acetabulum of the pelvis, is a ball and socket joint which is one of the largest and strongest joints in the human body.

One can get hip pain due to the inflammation of the bursa or trochanteric bursitis, a condition that affects the outer point of the thighbone, femur and the edge of the hip.

What Causes Trochanteric Bursitis?

The human body has about 160 bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide a cushion between the soft tissues and bones. They prevent the bones from abrasion against muscles and tendons [1] . Each hip has two major bursae - the trochanteric bursa (outside the hip) and the iliopsoas bursa (inside the hip).

When the outer hip bursa becomes inflamed, you tend to have trochanteric bursitis, also known as trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) [2] . The inflammation is caused when the hip is injured, overused or due to other reasons such as trauma, poor posture, overweight, bone spurs or calcium deposits, previous surgery, and other diseases or conditions like gout, thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Bursitis is the leading cause of hip, knee, elbow and knee pain [3] .

Symptoms Of Trochanteric Bursitis

  • Pain in the outer part of the hip, thigh or buttock.
  • Pain during physical activity like walking, or climbing the stairs.
  • Pain when lying on the affected side.
  • Pain when you press or touch inside or on the outside of the hip.

The pain is usually worse at night when you are lying down for some time.

Complications Associated With Trochanteric Bursitis

1. Disability

2. The inability to move your hip

3. Continuous pain disrupting your daily activity

Diagnosis Of Trochanteric Bursitis

A physical exam will be conducted by the doctor and the doctor will ask how long you have had the condition, what are the symptoms and whether any specific movements cause pain. He or she will check your medical history. The doctor will then feel the areas of bulging tissues on the hip that indicate trochanteric bursitis.

To check for abnormalities in the bursa the doctor will perform an X-ray, bone density scans and MRI.

Treatment Of Trochanteric Bursitis

  • Corticosteroid injections are given by the doctor to reduce pain and inflammation. According to a study, 58 patients were found to suffer from trochanteritis associated with lower back pain and 157 patients were found to suffer from trochanteritis without lower back pain. Local corticosteroid injections were effective in 61 patients [4] .
  • Physical therapy is another way of treating the condition by applying ice, heat or massaging the hip. This strengthens the muscles and helps relieve pain. Corticosteroid injections followed by physical therapy was found effective in patients [4] .
  • Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can lower pain and inflammation [5] .
  • Losing weight and using a cane or crutch while walking aid in the treatment process.
  • Surgery is a treatment option given to the patient when physical therapy, pain-relieving medicines and the above treatment methods do not reduce the symptoms. The surgical procedure to remove the bursa can be done laparoscopically [5] .

Preventive Tips For Further Injury Of The Hips

  • Avoid jogging, running and climbing the stairs.
  • Don't put on excess weight as it adds pressure on your hips.
  • Watch your steps while walking to prevent falling.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Try doing hip exercises like lying lateral leg raises, hip bridges, and lying leg circles.
View Article References
  1. [1] Hirji, Z., Hunjun, J. S., & Choudur, H. N. (2011). Imaging of the bursae.Journal of clinical imaging science,1, 22.
  2. [2] Shbeeb, M. I., & Matteson, E. L. (1996). Trochanteric Bursitis (Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome). Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 71(6), 565–569.
  3. [3] American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2011, June 8). Bursitis a common cause of painful hips, knees, heels and elbows: Most conditions can be managed with simple, nonsurgical techniques.ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from
  4. [4] Nurkovic, J., Jovasevic, L., Konicanin, A., Bajin, Z., Ilic, K. P., Grbovic, V., Skevin, A. J., … Dolicanin, Z. (2016). Treatment of trochanteric bursitis: our experience.Journal of physical therapy science,28(7), 2078-2081.
  5. [5] Lustenberger, D. P., Ng, V. Y., Best, T. M., & Ellis, T. J. (2011). Efficacy of treatment of trochanteric bursitis: a systematic review.Clinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine,21(5), 447-453.

Read more about: hips pain symptoms treatment
Story first published: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 12:09 [IST]
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