Hip bursitis – or “trochanteric bursitis” as it’s known in the medical community – is a condition that occurs when small sacs of fluid in the hip joint become inflamed.
The word “bursitis” comes from bursa – small sacs that sit in the hip joint and allow muscles and tendons to glide over each other smoothly. Evolution baked bursas into our bodies a long time ago to prevent rubbing of internal structures and to give us the freedom to move continually, all day long.
Unfortunately, bursas can become inflamed following excessive exercise and strain, especially those in the hip joint. Trochanteric bursitis is a particular form of the condition where bursas in the region of the trochanter become inflamed. Many middle-aged women who experience hip pain are usually suffering from some form of irritation of this part of the hip bone. You can have inflammation in other bursas of the hip joint, but those around the trochanter appear to be the most naturally disadvantaged.
The following are three things that you need to know about hip bursitis.
#1: The Pain Hip Bursitis Creates Come From Inflammation
The symptoms of hip bursitis are varied, but all relate to pain. People with the condition typically feel pain on the outside of the hip or thigh which worsens during exercise. In some cases, the hip can feel sore to the touch, or when sleeping on the affected side. Typically, the pain worsens at night and can lead to knock-on effects, like insomnia.
The pain of hip bursitis comes from inflammation, the process by which the body responds to a perceived injury. Inflammatory factors rush to the site, causing painful internal swelling and pressure on the surrounding tissue. The purpose of the pain is to prevent you from using your hip joint while the body carries out repair work on the affected site, but that can lead to distress and an inability to do exercise.
#2: Hip Bursitis Has Many Causes
“There are several different ways that a person can end up with hip bursitis,” according to Dr Lucas MD.
One of the leading causes of hip bursitis is obesity. When a person becomes severely overweight, the excess weight puts a strain on the hip joint, leading to higher pressure on the interface between tendons and muscles, damaging the protective bursa sacs.
Surgery can also increase the chance of developing the condition. Around five to twenty percent of people who undergo hip surgery experience some form of hip bursitis in the years following. Researchers think that this happens because hip surgery leads different length legs, which over time, put excessive pressure on one hip joint, putting it at a mechanical disadvantage.
Other causes of hip bursitis include poor postures and trauma. People who experience serious hip injuries, for instance, in a vehicle accident, often damage their bursas and go on to develop bursitis.
Another leading cause of the condition is performing activities that involve repetitive motion, such as household chores, specific actions at work, or exercise. Repeatedly performing the same operations over and over again can damage the bursa sacs and lead to painful inflammation and injury.
#3: Treatment Of Hip Bursitis Involves Drugs, Physical Therapy And Rest
Treating hip bursitis is complex with a range of therapies on offer.
If you go to your physician about possible hip bursitis, the first thing they’ll recommend is rest. By resting the affected area, you give it time for inflammation to go down and for the site to heal. Doctors may also recommend that you take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as ibuprofen.
Physicians may then refer those with severe hip bursitis to a physiotherapist. The purpose of the physiotherapist is to help the patient strengthen the joints and muscles in the hip to prevent undue strain on the bursas. Some hip injuries can be the result of a lack of strength in the surrounding tissue.
For people who continue to experience substantial discomfort or difficulty sleeping, doctors may prescribe corticosteroid injections, a type of injection designed to reduce inflammation in the hip directly.
Unfortunately, some people continue to experience pain even after several interventions and many weeks of physio, especially if a mechanical issue is driving the condition. Doctors will often recommend surgery if conditions do not improve with home-treatment over twelve months. Surgery involves either adjusting the hip joint or removing the bursas if nothing can be done to reduce the inflammation.
Overall, hip bursitis is a painful condition. For most people, over-the-counter treatment methods are effective, but for some, the problem doesn’t go away. If you think that you might have hip bursitis, speak with your physician.