Bursitis of the hip

Hip bursitis

Bursitis of the hip

Bursitis of the hip happens when the bursae (fluid filled sacs) become inflamed, hip bursitis symptoms can be hip and leg pain daily that affects your life and makes it hard to function normally.

In this article we will deal with the causes of hip bursitis pain and show you the best ways to relieve hip bursitis pain.

Hip bursitis can happen to you without any prior injury or accident, it starts out as a little twinge and then gradually starts to become harder to ignore, the pain can become quite sharp and lasting.

What causes bursitis of the hip?

Posterior view anatomy of the hip

Look at the picture, you can clearly see the importance of the bursae in the smooth working of the hip, these fluids filled sacs assist the tendons, ligaments and the muscles to smoothly glide over the hip bone.

Bursitis of the hip occurs when the bursae become swollen because of repetitive use of the hip joint, the swelling leads to pain and tenderness affecting people daily.

Bursitis is a common condition, not only does it happen in the hip area it can occur in the shoulder, in the knee or the elbow joint.

All forms of bursitis can be short lived (acute) or the pain and swelling can last a long time. The bursae are found throughout our bodies especially important areas like the shoulder, elbow, heel and hip. Bursae contain tiny amounts of fluid, when the fluid there becomes inflamed it causes pain and swelling.

Trochanteric Bursa

There are two major bursae surrounding the hip that commonly become disturbed and inflamed, one covers the greater trochanter or the bony part of the hip. When the greater trochanter becomes inflamed we call this trochanteric bursitis.

Iliopsoas Bursa

The other bursa known as the iliopsoas bursa is found on the groin side of the hip, when inflammation occurs here the pain is in the groin area, but we refer to it as hip bursitis. Hip bursitis is not as prevalent as trochanteric bursitis however both types of bursitis receive similar treatment

Trochanteric bursitis symptoms

Trochanteric bursitis of the hip

Typically, trochanteric bursitis will result in pain at the pointed area of the hip, as a rule the pain often stretches to the outermost part of the thigh area. People experience sharp or intense pain at the beginning, later it may feel more like an ache as it spreads over a bigger area of the hip.

The pain can be worse at night-time if you are lying on the troubled hip, also if you are standing in the same spot for more than 15 minutes, or it may be painful while walking squatting or climbing a stair.


LLipsoas bursitis

Lliopsoas bursitis symptoms

There will be some swelling with this condition, depending on how severe the swelling is the pain may begin at the front of the hip and spread down the leg, it may spread out toward the buttock area. Generally, the pain will diminish during the daytime, however if you are doing exercises, climbing, standing for more than 10-15 minutes or stretching or lifting one leg or the other you may experience pain in the hip area. Over a period, this pain can become much more extreme.

Trochanteric bursitis causes

Trochanteric bursitis is usually caused by an activity that requires repetitive use of the hip, for example athletes get this type of hip bursitis as would people involved in contact sport such as soccer,rugby,american football,hockey or horse riding, another cause would be where someone has had a fall and damaged the hip bone or there may be a pre-existing condition.

Iliopsoas bursitis causes

There are many possible causes of Iliopsoas, bursitis one of the most common is repetitive use of the hip so people that run, ski, swim, do gym exercise, bend up and down in their job are all at risk of developing iliopsoas bursitis.

A condition known as tight hips can lead to friction putting added pressure on the joint, muscles and ligaments.

People who suffer from rheumatoid or osteoarthritis are at a higher risk of developing this condition because of too much friction causing more inflammation in the area around the hip.


Doctor doing a hip examination

Bursitis of the hip diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, then you will be asked you to lie down for a physical examination of the affected leg, the doctor will twist or rotate your leg into different positions so that he can diagnose when the pain is at its worse.

Your doctor will try to rule out other conditions such as arthritis or another underlying condition.

Your doctor will then decide whether to make an appointment for you at a hospital where you will need to have your hip X-rayed or you may need to have a bone scan (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to rule out any underlying conditions.

An X-ray of the hip will determine if it is fractured, if there is degenerative arthritis or if there are any bony lesions. An X-ray will also show any calcium deposits in the trochanteric bursa region that can cause inflammation in people with chronic trochanteric bursitis.

A skeletal examination like a Trendelenburg or Ober test will assist in identifying any structural derangements causing pain in the lateral hip area.

Bursitis of the hip treatments

​Treatments of hip bursitis range from:

  • ​Rest
  • Using an ice pack to reduce swelling
  • Corticosteroid injection or local anaesthetic
  • NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Slow release patches
  • Shock wave therapy
  • Hip exercises
  • Natural anti-inflammatory (supplements)

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