What Causes Hip Bursitis?

What is Bursitis?

A bursa is a sac of fluid that prevents rubbing and friction between bony prominences and soft tissue.

The main bursa of the hip is on the outside part. It is called the greater trochanter bursa and prevents the lateral hip from rubbing against the deep skin.

The iliotibial band is a thin wide muscle that lies over this bursa. When this band of muscle is tight, it puts pressure on the bursa and can irritate it.

Bursitis is simply the inflammation of the bursa.

What Causes Hip Bursitis?

Bursitis is the most common cause of hip pain. Symptoms are worse with touching the outside part of the hip or lying on the outside hip.

Pain could also be worse getting up from sitting or going up and down stairs.

Hip bursitis can be caused by abnormal gait from an injury or leg length inequality putting stress on the hip bursa.

A direct fall onto the outside hip can also cause hip bursitis. Repetitive use of the hip such as in running can also cause hip bursitis.

How to treat Hip Bursitis

The first line of treatment for hip bursitis is stretching of the muscles and tendons around the hip.

This is usually best done by a physical therapist as stretching the iliotibial band is difficult.

Taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like Motrin may help with the pain and swelling.

Rarely do people require surgery for hip bursitis and most people get back to normal full activities without surgery.

If you have pain on the lateral (outside) part of your hip for more than a few days, see your orthopedic doctor and get it checked.

If the condition goes on for too long it will be harder to cure.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Sport and Spine and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.

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