Trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the bursa in your hip. This particular bursa sits on the outside of the hip joint, just below part of your protruding hip bone (greater trochanter). A bursa is a fluid filled sac which cushions and reduces friction between bone and the surrounding soft tissue (predominantly tendon). Trochanteric bursitis rarely occurs in isolation, and often includes some form of tendinopathy of the overlying tendons. For this reason the term “Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome” has been suggested as a more accurate description. It affects people of all ages and levels of activity; however it is almost twice as prevalent in females as males and more commonly affects middle aged to elderly people.
What causes it?
Acute, or more commonly, repetitive trauma to the area, may cause the bursa to become inflamed. Acute trauma could include falling on your hip, playing contact sports and other sources of impact. Repetitive trauma often comes in the form of poor biomechanics or hip posture leading to excessive repetitive compression of the bursa/tendons which leads to irritation and inflammation over time.
Trochanteric bursitis symptoms include:
- pain and tenderness over the greater trochanter (bony prominence in the outside of your hip) which can radiate down the lateral thigh
- pain during weight bearing activities on the affected leg such as walking or climbing stairs
- pain when crossing your legs
- night pain when lying on your side
Treatment consists of relative rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, soft tissue massage and stretching of the surrounding musculature, and strengthening of the gluteal muscles to aid in hip stability and promote tendon healing. Addressing contributing biomechanical issues is important for cases caused by repetitive trauma. In some cases an injection of corticosteroid and local anaesthetic can help to speed the recovery by reducing the pain in order to allow the person to perform the required exercises.