Trochanteric bursitis: Causes and treatment of hip bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis: Causes and treatment of hip bursitis

Bursa are small, fluid-filled sacs found near joints. Bursa help joints move more easily by allowing muscles and tendons to glide over bone and other structures. The human body has over 150 bursae.

When bursa become inflamed, they cause a condition known as bursitis. Trochanteric bursitis or greater trochanteric pain syndrome gets its name because it affects an area of bone called the trochanter. The trochanter is located in a specific area of the hip, at the tip of the thigh bone.

Read on to learn about the causes and symptoms of trochanteric bursitis, as well as how to treat it. While there is no cure, there is a range of treatment options available that can improve mobility and reduce hip pain.

Trochanteric bursitis is a common cause of outer hip pain in active middle-aged women.

Trochanteric bursitis can cause significant hip pain, especially if a person puts pressure on their hip. It can also cause the following symptoms:

The pain related to trochanteric bursitis is usually worse at night, especially when a person is lying down or has been lying on their side for some time. If the tendons around the hip bone are also inflamed, symptoms may be worse.

The symptoms of trochanteric bursitis can be similar to those caused by a tear of the gluteus medius, which is a muscle that attaches to the same area. However, a tear of the gluteus medius causes weakness when trying to bring the hip or leg away from the body. If symptoms persist and a person suspects a tear of the gluteus medius, they should see a doctor as this injury may require surgery.

Some of the causes associated with the condition include:

Some of the methods used to treat trochanteric bursitis include:

If a person tries treatment methods at home and still has pain, a doctor may recommend surgery. A doctor will not usually suggest surgery unless a person's symptoms have not improved with 12 months of at-home and medical treatments.

In extreme cases, a person can have their bursa removed through minimally invasive techniques. This surgery can often be accomplished on an outpatient basis where a person does not have to stay in the hospital overnight.

A doctor will begin diagnosing trochanteric bursitis by first reviewing a person's medical history and symptoms. The doctor will perform a physical examination of the hip, feeling for tender areas close to where the bursa are likely to be.

A doctor would most likely expect the pain from trochanteric bursitis to be worse at the lateral or side portion of the hip. Sometimes, a doctor will feel areas of bulging tissue on the lateral hip, which can indicate trochanteric bursitis.

As well as a physical exam, a doctor may recommend additional imaging studies to check for abnormalities associated with the bursa. These include:

A doctor will consider not only the symptoms that point to trochanteric bursitis but will also try to rule out other similar conditions. For example, someone who has difficulty putting on shoes and socks or has a gait where walking causes then pain from the first step may have osteoarthritis rather than trochanteric bursitis.

The symptoms of trochanteric bursitis may be similar to or confused with:

Trochanteric bursitis can be a troublesome and painful condition. Usually, OTC treatments can help ease a person's symptoms. Surgery is the last treatment method recommended for those with persistent painful symptoms.

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