Hip Bursitis 101: What It Is and How to Treat It

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Hip Bursitis 101: What It Is and How to Treat It

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Hip bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the small sacs that cushion the hip joint. It can be painful enough to limit mobility, including walking upstairs or getting out of a deep chair. The good news is, there are several treatment options available for hip bursitis. The experts at Princeton Orthopaedic Associates can find the right treatment plan for your pain. 

What Is Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis, also known as trochanteric bursitis, is an inflammation of the bursa, tiny fluid-filled sacs near the hip joint called the greater trochanter. This joint is the area where the head of the femur (thigh bone) meets the long part of the bone. This area has a bursa that cushions the femur and its joint with the pelvis (hip bone). 

There are several possible causes of hip bursitis:

  • Hip injury due to a fall or impact
  • Bad posture
  • Overuse from climbing stairs or standing for too long
  • Bone spurs on the hip
  • Poor joint positioning leading to soft tissue damage
  • Previous surgery
  • Chronic ailments such as arthritis or gout

Symptoms can include pain or stiffness, particularly when climbing stairs or standing from a deep chair or cushion. The pain tends to be on the side of the hip but can radiate around to the outside of the buttock or the hip. 

Treatment of Hip Bursitis

Treatment of hip bursitis can vary depending on the severity of the pain and inflammation. That’s why it’s essential to assess your pain level before deciding on the best course of treatment. That treatment can range from over-the-counter pain medications to surgery. 

Treatment begins with nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. It also may require rest of the joint, which means not standing for long periods or not climbing stairs. 

The next step is corticosteroid injections, which quickly reduce inflammation and pain. Relief can last several weeks to a few months. 

Physical therapy can build up strength in the joint, straighten the joint, improve posture, and reduce pain and inflammation. We can also use physical therapy sessions to recover from bursitis and help prevent it from recurring.

If these methods fail to alleviate or eliminate the pain, surgery may be necessary. During surgery, the surgeon removes the bursa causing the problem. The surgery can be performed arthroscopically using only small incisions, which means faster healing for the patient. 

Surgery for hip bursitis is rare and is only done in extreme cases. In most cases, other treatment methods bring sufficient relief.

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