Hip Bursitis 


Hip Bursitis 

Hip bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa surrounding the hip joint. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons, and muscles, reducing friction during movement. There are several joints in the hip, but the ones most commonly affected are: 

  • Trochanteric bursa: This bursa is located on the outside of the hip, near the greater trochanter (bony prominence at the top of the femur). Inflammation in this bursa is called trochanteric bursitis. 
  • Iliac bursa: This bursa is located on the inside of the hip near the groin. Inflammation of this bursa is less common but can occur. 

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom of hip bursitis is pain felt in the outer hip, often described as:

  • Mild pain: A constant, throbbing pain that may worsen with activity. 
  • Sharp pain: Sudden, stabbing pain, especially noticeable with certain movements or by applying pressure to the affected area. 
  • Pain with specific movements: Activities such as lying on the affected side, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair can increase the pain. 
  • Tenderness: Increased sensitivity to touch in the bursa area (outer side of the hip, mostly near the trochanter). 
  • Stiffness: Difficulty moving the hip through a full range of motion, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time.

What are the Causes & Risk Factor?

Several factors can contribute to the development of hip bursitis:

People at risk/ Predisposing factors

Although bursitis can affect anyone, some studies suggest that women may be at a slightly higher risk of developing trochanteric bursitis, possibly due to physical differences and hormonal factors. However, this does not mean only in women, and men can also develop the condition

Diagnosis of hip bursitis

Medical history:

A detailed discussion of your symptoms, activities, and any previous injuries helps to understand the context of your condition.

A health care professional will examine the affected area for pain and tenderness. They will palpate the outer hip area to identify areas of pain and tenderness. They will assess the range of motion in your hip joint to identify any limitations due to pain or stiffness.

Although not always necessary, imaging tests can sometimes be helpful in confirming a diagnosis or ruling out other possible causes of your hip pain. These may include: 

  • X-rays: These can help rule out fractures or bone abnormalities but cannot visualize the bursa directly. 
  • Ultrasound: This can indicate any swelling or fluid accumulation within bursa. 
  • MRI scan: This can provide detailed images of soft tissues, including bursae, muscles, tendons, and surrounding structures. This can be helpful in confirming bursitis, identifying any tears or other abnormalities in nearby structures, and ruling out other conditions that may mimic the symptoms of bursitis. 

Based on the medical history, physical examination, and results of any imaging tests, a healthcare professional will be able to diagnose hip bursitis and recommend the most appropriate treatment. 

Treatment options for hip bursitis

Treatment usually involves a non-surgical approach, including: 

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate pain is important for early healing. However, complete bed rest is not recommended, as gentle movement can help maintain flexibility and prevent stiffness. 
  • Ice therapy: Applying an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day can help reduce pain and inflammation. 
  • Heat therapy: After the initial inflammation subsides, applying heat with a heating pad or warm compress can help improve blood flow, reduce stiffness, and promote healing. 
  • Over-the-counter pain medications: Medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help control pain and inflammation. 
  • Physical therapy: It plays an important role in rehabilitation. A physical therapist will develop a personalized program that includes exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion in the hip and surrounding muscles. 
  • Manual therapy techniques: Techniques such as massage therapy and joint mobilization can help improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension and promote healing. 

In severe cases or if conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, other options may be considered, such as:

Corticosteroids injected directly into the bursa may provide pain relief, although repeated injections are not recommended because of possible side effects. 

Surgical removal of an inflamed bursa is rarely necessary and is usually considered only in cases of chronic, severe bursitis that has not responded to other treatments.

It is important to discuss all treatment options and the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare professional in order to determine the most appropriate method for your individual case. 

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