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Trochanteric Bursitis

A common source of hip pain, trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushions between the bones, tendons, and muscles) on the outside of the hip. A band of tissue called the iliotibial band runs on the outside of the hip to the knee. When this band gets tight, often due to overuse, it can rub against the bone irritating the bursae. This condition is common in runners, and easily treatable.

Trochanteric Bursitis Hero Image 2

A common source of hip pain, trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushions between the bones, tendons, and muscles) on the outside of the hip. A band of tissue called the iliotibial band runs on the outside of the hip to the knee. When this band gets tight, often due to overuse, it can rub against the bone irritating the bursae. This condition is common in runners, and easily treatable.

What causes Trochanteric Bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis is caused by overuse or injury of the hip. Walkers and runners, especially women who are middle-aged or older, are at greater risk. Other causes and risk factors include:

• An injury to the hip (e.g. due to a fall)
• Training errors, like overtraining or running the same course over and over
• Poor posture or a difference in leg length that places stress on the tissues around the hip
• Previous surgery on the hip

Sports associated with trochanteric bursitis include:

• Running
• Walking
• Cycling

Symptoms

Pain on the outside of your hip is the most common symptom of trochanteric bursitis. Other symptoms and characteristics of this condition include:

• Pain that initially is sharp but becomes dull over time
• Difficulty sleeping or lying on the side where you feel hip pain
• Pain that is worse when moving hip, such as walking down stairs or getting up from a chair
• Tenderness in the hip
• In extreme cases, swelling and redness in the hip area

When to see a doctor

If your symptoms have not improved within two weeks with basic, at-home remedies such as rest and ice, you should see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. During your visit, your doctor will ask about your injury, the pain you are experiencing, and whether you have had prior injuries to your hip. Often, trochanteric bursitis is associated with a tight iliotibial band, which runs along the outside of your hip. Your doctor will examine your hip where the bursae are located, looking for signs of tenderness or tightness, and may recommend an x-ray or other tests to help rule out other factors causing you pain.

Non-operative treatment

Your doctor may recommend several treatment options, including:

• Rest
• Ice
• Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication like ibuprofen
• Corticosteroid injections into the bursae (or fluid-filled sacs around the hip joint) to reduce inflammation and pain
• Physical therapy

These exercises may be helpful for trochanteric bursitis:

Trochanteric Bursitis

Surgical Treatment

Trochanteric bursitis is usually treated non-surgically. Surgery is rarely considered an option for this condition.

Recovery

With proper treatment, athletes with trochanteric bursitis can expect to resume play within weeks. Prevention is always the best treatment, and athletes should take steps to ensure their iliotibial band fully recovers to avoid this problem again. Preventive steps include:

• Training and exercising properly to maintain strength and flexibility to avoid aggravating your hip
• Using a shoe insert if your legs aren’t the same length

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