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Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis, also known as hip bursitis, is an inflammation of the bursa, the fluid filled sac that is situated between the greater trochanter (the bone located in the outside of the hip) and a tendon that passes over the bone within the hip joint. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it causes pain in the hip in the area over the upper thigh.

What causes Trochanteric Bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis can be caused by an injury to the outside of the hip or upper thigh, such as a fall, bump, or other direct trauma. It can also be caused by overuse from activities such as running, climbing, or standing, and is commonly seen in athletes engaged in running-related sports. Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, and certain physical conditions, such as scoliosis, poor posture and spine problems can also contribute to trochanteric bursitis. The condition can develop following hip surgery or in the presence of bone spurs or calcifications in the tendons located within the hip joint.

What are the symptoms of Trochanteric Bursitis?

The primary symptom of trochanteric bursitis includes pain when moving the hip that is felt in the outside of the hip, upper thigh or buttocks. Pain can also be felt when pressing on or lying on the outside of the hip. Tenderness and swelling may also be evident over the bone situated on the outside of the hip by the upper thigh. In more severe cases, the degree of pain and inflammation may limit mobility in the hip.

How is Trochanteric Bursitis diagnosed?

A medical professional will take a complete medical history and will perform a physical exam. Questions will also be asked related to the type and severity of symptoms, when they began, and what makes them better or worse. A medical exam will include feeling the area around the hip and upper thigh for tenderness and swelling and moving the hip in certain ways to determine when pain is felt. X-rays may be done to determine whether a bone spur or calcification is evident. An MRI may also be performed to view the soft tissue in the hip more closely in order to determine if there are other causes of the symptoms. Hip pain can be caused by multiple conditions, so it is important to determine the proper cause of pain.

When should I seek care for Trochanteric Bursitis?

If you experience pain, tenderness or swelling in your hip, outer thigh or buttocks, that does not improve following a period of rest and the avoidance of activities, you should seek medical advice. If your symptoms are caused by a traumatic injury, such as a fall or collision, or pain is accompanied by immobility or redness and warmth, you should seek immediate medical attention.

What will the treatment for Trochanteric Bursitis consist of?

Treatment for trochanteric bursitis is focused on reducing the inflammation of the bursa, thereby reducing symptoms. Conservative treatments include resting the area by not engaging in activities that aggravate symptoms, icing the area, especially following any type of activity that irritates the bursa, and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases of trochanteric bursitis, corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms and the bursa can also be aspirated with a needle to remove extra fluid that builds up in the area. Physical therapy may also be recommended, and will include stretching and strengthening exercises of the muscles and tendons surrounding the area, especially the iliotibial band, to help the tendons glide more smoothly. Ultrasound is also helpful in some cases. Surgery is rarely required to treat this condition, and when it is performed, the inflamed bursa is removed.

Which muscle groups/joints are commonly affected by Trochanteric Bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis affects the bursa, the fluid filled sac situated between the greater trochanter (the outer hip bone) and a tendon that glides over the bone within the hip joint. Symptoms are felt in the outer side of the hip, upper thigh and buttocks.

What type of results should I expect from the treatment of Trochanteric Bursitis?

If conservative treatments are followed and the area is given sufficient rest from activities that cause inflammation, most cases of trochanteric bursitis will clear up in 6 – 8 weeks. If activities are not limited during this time or activities are resumed too quickly or aggressively, symptoms can return. When surgery is performed to remove the bursa, it is almost always successful and activities can be resumed fairly quickly.