Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that cushion and lubricate the areas between tendons and bones. There are many bursae around the hip that can be affected by bursitis, but the trochanteric bursa is the most common. It is positioned between the greater trochanter of the hip and the muscles and tendons of the thighs and buttocks. The greater trochanter of the hip sits at the top of the femur and can also be recognized as the bony point of the hip. Trochanteric bursitis occurs more often in middle-aged or elderly women, but is also fairly common in men and younger people.
Symptoms of trochanteric bursitis may include:
- Hip and sometimes buttock pain that spreads down the outside of the thigh and reaches the knee area; pain may be worse during activities such as walking, running, or sitting cross-legged with the leg over the opposite knee. It may also be severe enough at night to disturb sleep;
- Tenderness when you press on the affected area or lie on the affected side;
- Swelling from increased fluid within the bursa;
- Redness and warmth (from inflammation or infection).
- An injury, such as a fall onto the hip area;
- Repetitive movements involving the hip area, such as excessive running, walking or martial arts;
- Prolonged or excessive pressure applied to the hip area;
- Some infections (tuberculosis) and diseases (ex. : gout and arthritis), which can be associated with an inflamed bursa;
- The presence of surgical wire, implants or scar tissue in the hip area (ex.: after hip surgery);
- Differences in leg length;
- Snapping hip syndrome (characterized by an audible snap or click that occurs in or around the hip);
- Muscle imbalances;
- Calcifying tendinitis of the hip.
The diagnosis is usually made ; further investigation with images, such as X-ray or MRI, is not normally needed, unless the suspected cause is an infection of the bursa (rare), or if the diagnosis is unclear.
The various treatments for trochanteric bursitis may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the inflammatory response;
- Modalities such as ultrasound, iontophoresis, interferential current and TENS;
- Manual therapy and mobilization techniques;
- Therapeutic exercises to correct any muscle imbalances and postural misalignments;
- Avoiding aggravating activities or positions, such as lying on the painful side or excessive walking and running, until the inflammation abates;
- Contralateral (opposite side of the affected hip) cane usage can prove useful in acute and irritable cases of trochanteric bursitis.
Contact us today to get an accurate diagnostic, get on the road to recovery faster and avoid long-term complications.
Remember: the faster you get treatment,the better your chances of success!