Living with hip bursitis

November 12, 2012

Living with hip bursitis

Hip bursitis is a painful condition which is the result of inflammation of the bursa that is located over the hip. The bursa is a small sac that functions as a gliding surface in order to reduce friction between moving tissues of the body. Hip bursitis is often the result of soft tissue trauma or strain injury caused by repetitive movement or overuse and is generally sports or activity related.


The presence of hip bursitis is indicated by a pain radiating from the hip and down the outside of the thigh. There may be tenderness around the outer hip which may make sleeping or lying on the affected side difficult and painful. Pain may also be more noticeable when climbing up and down stairs. The pain caused by bursitis can be chronic but a few simple measures may help relieve the symptoms and prevent further irritation and inflammation. Bursitis is not usually infectious but the bursa may become infected. Bursitis of the hip is the most common cause of pain in the hip; there are two kinds of bursitis -

  • Trochanteric bursitis is often exacerbated by walking or stair climbing and causes a dull, burning pain on the outer hip.

  • Ischial bursa will cause noticeable pain in the upper buttock area particularly when climbing uphill or after prolonged periods of sitting on a hard surface.


Diagnosis is usually based on patient history and a physical examination of the affected, tender area. The doctor may confirm his diagnosis by administering a local anaesthetic to the affected area whilst the patient is in his office. X-rays may be taken in order to exclude any other underlying medical conditions such as arthritis.


Since overuse of the hip joint is a known risk factor for hip bursitis individuals with the condition should take periodic rests from the aggravating activity in order to ease any inflammation and irritation. Resting between periods of exercise or abstaining altogether until the symptoms have disappeared will both benefit the patient.

Change your exercise routine

Hip bursitis is caused by repeated movements – in order to improve the condition it is essential to vary or modify your movements and exercise in order to relieve the irritation and inflammation. If possible the particular movement known to aggravate the injury should be avoided.

Warm up properly

Before any exercise is undertaken it is essential to do a proper and thorough warm up, ensuring that the muscles, joints and tendons are all correctly stretched and warmed up will do much to prevent hip bursitis developing. Stretching correctly loosens up muscles and relieves joint stress.

Use ice packs

Using ice packs for twenty minutes, several times a day, on the affected area will constrict the blood vessels and help control and reduce inflammation.

Aspiration of the bursa fluid and cortisone injections

Bursitis that is proving difficult to cure may well require aspiration of the bursa fluid – although, frequently, there is insufficient fluid for this procedure to be carried out satisfactorily. Aspiration of the bursa fluid can be done in the doctor’s office and involves the removal of fluid, under sterile conditions, with a needle and syringe. The fluid may then be sent for further analysis.

Non-infectious bursitis may also be treated with a cortisone injection into the swollen bursa – this is often done at the same time as the aspiration.


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