Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Trochanteric Bursitis?
This is a medical condition that causes you pain on one or both of your hips while resting and doing routine work. When a person has trochanteric bursitis they have an inflammation of their bursa, which are fluid filled sacs. The bursa covers your greater trochanter, which is the protuberance that juts out from your hip bone. This bursa, called the trochanteric bursa and is what separates the tendons and muscles of your buttock and thigh from the greater trochanter of your hip. The bursa is what acts like a cushion and shock absorber for your joints. The fluid that is in the sac is what provides lubrication in order to protect your joints from jarring impacts and to allow it to move comfortably. You will find this medical condition most often in younger people or elderly and middle-aged women than in men. Having this trochanteric bursitis is a very common cause when a person complains of hip pain.
Trochanteric Bursitis Symptoms
Hip pain which is sometimes accompanied by buttock pain that will spread down the outside of your thigh to the knee area. A person may notice that the pain is worse during certain activities like walking, sitting cross legged with your leg over the opposite knee, or running. It can make walking difficult. The pain may be so severe at night that it will disturb your sleep.
Other symptoms include:
- Feeling tenderness when you lie on the affected side or press down on the area that is affected.
- Having swelling from the increased fluid within the trochanter bursitis.
- Warmth and redness from the infection or inflammation
- Occasionally a person may experience weakness in their lower limbs.
There are many different ways that a person can develop trochanteric bursitis. One of the most common causes is having an injury that may be the result of a strain or fall will attempting to move something, jumping over an obstacle, or as the result of some type of athletics like running.
Other causes can include:
- Surgery on your hip
- Bad posture
- Repeated rubbing of the tendons and muscles over your trochanteric bursa as the result of vigorous exercises such as cycling.
- Any type of activity that involves persistent pressure on your hip which can lead to inflammation.
- Problems with your gait can put pressure on your hip.
- Bumping your hip into a hard surface.
- Deposition of insoluble crystals in your bursa can happen in conditions such gout that inflame your bursa and cause pain.
- Being overweight can put pressure on your hips.
- Your trochanteric bursa may become infected and can lead to trochanteric bursitis.
- You could have hip bone spurs that come in contact with the bursa and cause irritation and friction.
- Some exercises that are performed incorrectly can put pressure on your hip and could affect your bursa.
- Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis could cause inflammation of your trochanteric bursa.
When you see your physician or orthopedic doctor they should be able to palpate your hip and feel the sore spot. They may also do an x-ray of your hip to check for any other problems you may be having with the hip bone like bony outgrowths that are caused from the chronic irritation.
There are many different ways that you can treat trochanteric bursitis. How it is treated will depend on how severe the case is. Some of the ways it can be treated may include:
- The first step that all orthopedist and physicians advise is that you rest to keep the weight off your hip to allow the swelling to decrease.
- While your hip is healing from surgery you may need to use crutches.
- There are also some anti-inflammatory medications that can help.
- If it is a severe case your physician may suggest having corticosteroid injections directly into the bursa to help decrease the swelling quickly.
- Once your hip heals completely to help rebuild strength in your hip joint and to help prevent future injuries the physician may have you do some physical therapy. The physical therapists may have you do exercises that help to strengthen the muscles of your hip along with stretching exercises for your lower back and hip
- If there is an infection you may need antibiotics.
- Removing the bursa fluid.
- Having surgery to remove the affected bursa.
There are also some home remedies that you can try until you get into see your physician or orthopedic doctor. If it does not get better in a couple of days or seems to be getting worse, you need to contact your physician for an evaluation and treatment.
Some of these home remedies may include:
- Putting an ice pack on your hip two to three times each day for five to ten minutes at a time.
- Changing your eating habits to healthier eating in order to loose weight.
- Avoiding any activity that causes you pain
- Avoiding any prolong standing in one position for long periods of time.
- To help reduce pressure on your hip use the cane or crutches
- When lying down try not to lie on that side but if you must, then cushion it with an extra pillow under your hip. If you have to sit for any length of time and your hip starts to hurt place a pillow under your hip for more cushioning.
One thing to remember is to not try to do any type of stretching or strengthening exercises until the physician tells you to do so and then only do what you are taught in physical therapy.