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Trochanteric Bursitis

The trochanteric bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that pads the bony point of the hip called the greater trochanter. Inflammation of this bursa – which leads to significant pain over the side of the hip – is called trochanteric bursitis.

What causes it?

Trochanteric bursitis can occur from direct pressure, after injury or with overuse. There are a number of risk factors associated with its development:

  • Repetitive stress injury: From running, cycling, or standing for extended periods.
  • Hip injury: A bump or fall, or lying on one side of the body for long periods of time
  • Spine disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Disparity in leg length

How do you know you have it?

Trochanteric bursitis’ main symptom is pain, from the point of the hip and extending to the outside of the thigh. The pain is often described as follows:

  • Sharp and intense in the early stages of the condition, later followed by achiness covering a larger portion of the hip area
  • Worsens with prolonged activities such as squatting or walking
  • Intensifies at night

How we fix it

The OSI hip team is here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of trochanteric bursitis. Your OSI physician can often diagnose trochanteric bursitis based on your symptoms and with an examination of the hip muscles. If needed, these additional tests may follow to rule out other conditions:

  • X-rays
  • MRI

Nonsurgical Treatment

As many people with trochanteric bursitis can bring relief with simple lifestyle changes, treatments generally start here:

  • Activity modification: Reduce or eliminate activities that exacerbate symptoms.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): To reduce pain and swelling.
  • Steroid injection: Temporary or permanent relief may result from an injection into the bursa.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises targeting the muscles of the hip to improve strength and flexibility.
  • Assistive devices: Use of crutches or cane.

Surgical Treatment

In limited instances, surgical removal of the bursa may be recommended. The hip can function normally without the bursa. Arthroscopic removal of the bursa, a minimally invasive technique, is an option. Patients are generally up and walking the day following the procedure, with or without an assistive device.

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