Trochanteric Bursitis


What is trochanteric bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the small sacs of fluid (bursae) that cushion and lubricate the areas between tendons and bones. Bursae are located throughout the body, including around the shoulder, elbow, knee, heel, and hip. The trochanteric bursa sac is located on the outside of each hip, an area that is subject to considerable irritation. Trochanteric bursitis occurs more often in middle-aged or elderly women than in men or younger people.

What causes trochanteric bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis can be caused by an acute injury, prolonged pressure on the affected area, or activities that require repeated twisting or rapid joint movement such as jogging or bicycling long distances. These activities may lead to irritation or inflammation within the bursa. Other causes of trochanteric bursitis may be:

  • Disc disease of the low back or arthritis of the hip
  • Previous hip surgery
  • Leg-length inequality
  • Spine disease, such as scoliosis, arthritis of the lumbar (lower) spine, and other spine problems
  • Bone spurs or calcium deposits

What are symptoms of trochanteric bursitis?

The main symptom of hip bursitis is pain at the point of the hip. The pain usually extends to the outside of the thigh area. In the early stages, the pain may be sharp and intense. Later, it may feel more achy and spread out. The pain may be worse at night when lying on the affected side, during activities such as getting up from a chair or out of a car, or when walking up stairs.

How is trochanteric bursitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of hip bursitis is made based on a physical examination by your doctor that identifies tenderness in the area of the point of the hip. Other tests, which may include x-rays, bone scanning, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be performed to rule out other possible sources of hip pain.

How is trochanteric bursitis treated?

Most people experience relief from hip bursitis with conservative, nonsurgical treatment. Based on the severity of symptoms, treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, orthotics, and physical therapy. If nonsurgical treatment is not effective, surgery may be appropriate.

What can I do at home to treat trochanteric bursitis?

Home treatment for bursitis includes:

  • Rest
  • Ice packs to the affected area
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and swelling
  • Weight loss, to reduce pressure on the hip
  • Exercises for the hip and lower back
  • Avoiding activities that cause pain
  • Using a cane or crutches to reduce pressure on the hip
  • Using a lift in your shoe to reduce pressure on the hip if one leg is shorter than the other

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