Hip Bursitis Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

What is hip bursitis?

Bursitis of the hip is commonly mistaken as a hip-joint problem. In reality, however, it is a problem well outside of the hip joint. A bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that provides a gliding surface for adjacent tissues, such as the muscle, fascia, and tendon tissue over the bony prominence of the femur bone at the outer hip area. The bony prominence is referred to as the trochanteric area of the femur. This is precisely the area that most commonly develops bursitis of the hip. Bursitis of this area of the hip is characterized by localized dull pain and tenderness on the outer side of the hip. It often causes difficulty with sleeping on the affected side.

Medication and therapy for hip bursitis

Generally, hip bursitis is a mild annoyance that will resolve spontaneously over time. When it persists, measures that are used to reduce the local inflammation include avoiding excessive use of hills and stairs, StairMaster, or incline treadmill exercise, etc. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, etc.), can also be helpful. Applying ice to the tender area can decrease inflammation. More persistent inflammation can be treated with an injection of cortisone medication into the inflamed bursa, often with an anesthetic.

Lifestyle changes for hip bursitis treatment

Bursitis of the hip can be precipitated and/or aggravated by mechanical stress to the tissues adjacent to the hip. As a result, patients can often benefit by weight reduction, stretching exercises, and wearing proper footwear for exercise activities. Sometimes physical-therapy programs can be helpful. Generally, patients should avoid hills and stairs and direct pressure on the affected hip (sleep on the other side) while symptoms are present, when possible. Again, avoiding exercising on inclined surfaces and stairs, especially running hills, is important until symptoms have resolved.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Trochanteric Bursitis Treatment & Management.

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