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Trochanteric Bursitis

The trochanteric bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that pads the bony point of the hip. It is 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 Trochanteric Bursitis?

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 Trochanteric Bursitis?

The main symptom of trochanteric bursitis is pain from the point of the hip that extends to the outside of the thigh. The pain is often described as:

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

How does OSI fix Trochanteric Bursitis?

Your OSI orthopedic hip specialist can often diagnose trochanteric bursitis based on your symptoms and with an examination of the hip muscles. Your OSI doctor may do some or all of the following to determine if you have trochanteric bursitis and to rule out any other conditions:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will examine your hip muscle
  • X-rays: X-rays will determine if you may have something else causing your pain
  • MRI: An MRI may be ordered to assess the severity of the injury

Nonsurgical Treatment

Simple lifestyle changes can bring relief to those suffering from trochanteric bursitis. These include: 

  • 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 a cane.

Surgical Treatment

In limited instances, surgical removal of the bursa may be recommended. The hip can function normally without the bursa, and arthroscopic removal of the bursa is a minimally-invasive procedure that works quite well for relieving pain and enhancing mobility. Patients are generally up and walking the day following the procedure, with or without an assistive device.