Trochanteric Bursitis

Pain on the Side of Your Hip

What is advanced arthritis of the hip?

Hip osteoarthritis is a wear and tear condition where the cartilage wears out in the hip socket.  After a period of time, the cartilage can be worn completely down, leaving direct bone on bone contact.  This leads to pain in the groin and thigh and is associated with decreased range of motion.

How does it occur?

Inflammation of the trochanteric bursa occurs due to excessive friction between the greater trochanter and the muscles that move your hip.  Common activities that aggravate this condition are running, walking, and bicycling. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are pain over the bony prominence on the lateral side of your hip.  Pain is aggravated by walking, bicycling, and climbing up and down stairs. Some patients report a “snappy hip”.

How is it diagnosed?

Trochanteric bursitis is diagnosed with a thorough medical history and physical exam.

A steroid injection into the bursa can give immediate relief and confirms diagnosis.  Sometimes a series of injections may be needed.

Trochanteric bursitis sometimes can be overlying a more severe condition of the hip which is a tear in the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus off the greater trochanter.  These muscles assist in walking, stair climbing and rising from a chair.

If bursitis is chronic, it is very important to look with an MRI at the gluteus muscles.  If torn, they can cause chronic pain syndrome and can be endoscopically repaired, restoring ambulatory function.

How is it treated?

Trochanteric bursitis is treated conservatively with ice, anti-inflammatories, and steroid injections.  Ice directly over the painful area four times a day for 20 minutes at a time.  Ice immediately after activity and for as long as you continue to have symptoms.  Anti-inflammatory medications include Advil or Aleve which are available over the counter or we can prescribe a stronger prescription medication.  You may take Tylenol with your anti-inflammatory medication.  Steroid injections are very effective in treating trochanteric bursitis, and you will get immediate relief.  Home stretching and strengthening exercises or outpatient physical therapy can be helpful.  Sometimes you may need to return to the office periodically for a few injections before symptoms completely resolve.  

What is the recovery time?

Recovery time varies based on patient medical condition, level of activity, and extent and chronicity of the injury.  If these conservative treatments do not get you better an MRI may be needed to rule out other underlying problems.

We are here to help. If you believe you are suffering from one of these conditions, we would love to deliver a diagnosis, get you treated and get you moving again.

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