What is Trochanteric bursitis?

Hip bursitis is a common cause of hip pain. Hip bursitis most commonly occurs when the large bursa on the outside of the hip joint, where the pelvic bone meets the top of the thigh bone, becomes inflamed.

What causes Trochanteric bursitis?

There are a number of possible causes of hip bursitis, as well as factors that make some people more likely to develop hip bursitis than others.

The most common causes and risk factors include:

Hip injury or trauma. Falling on the outside of the hip, or banging the hip on any hard surface, can cause the bursa to fill with blood and its lining to become inflamed. Even though body reabsorbs the blood, the bursa lining may stay inflamed, causing bursitis symptoms. This condition is termed traumatic bursitis.

Repetitive pressure on the hip. Most often bursitis is caused by frequent “mini-traumas,” which can cause the same problems as a single, more serious trauma. People who bike, run, or stand for long periods of time may be more prone to hip bursitis.

Age and gender. Women are more likely to report pain at the side of the hip than men.1Though people of any age can be affected, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are more likely to have hip bursitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Bursitis occurs when the bursa’s outer lining, called a synovial membrane, is inflamed. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the synovial membrane that encapsulates joints, are more likely to get bursitis. Similarly, people who suffer from gout, in which there is a painful build-up of urate crystals in the synovial joints, are more likely to have to bursitis

Symptoms of Trochanteric bursitis

Pain at the outside of the lower part of the hip is the most common symptom of hip bursitis. Patients often initially describe the pain as sharp or searing. After a period of several days or weeks, the pain may change to more of an ache.

  • Pain that is worse after prolonged inactivity
    Most patients describe that the pain is worse after sleeping or after being seated for a while.
  • Pain that is worse with repetitive activity
    The pain may intensify after prolonged repetitive hip movements, such as with walking, jogging, or stair climbing.
  • Hip tenderness
    Patients with hip bursitis have tenderness and pain over the side of the hip. Lying down on the affected side of the hip may cause a sudden and sharp increase in pain.
  • Radiating pain
    Initially, the pain may be located primarily at the outside of the lower hip. Over time the pain may radiate down the outside of the thigh or to other points in the body, such as the lower back, buttock or groin.

Conservative Treatment for Trochanteric bursitis

Initially, treatment for hip bursitis, or bursitis at any joint location, is usually aimed at controlling the inflammation of the bursa. Once the inflammation is settled it is important to commence a gluteal strengthening program to ensure the bursa isn’t aggravated further. There may be other imbalances that need to be addressed such as hip tightness to also treat bursitis.

Activity modification and lifestyle changes may also need to be implemented to aid the recovery process.