Hip Bursitis

Hip Bursitis

What is Hip Bursitis?

Hip Bursitis can really have an impact on your joints. Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs found in and around joints. Their purpose is to ensure smooth movement among the bones, muscles, tendons and other tissues located in the joint.

Bursitis occurs when the bursae become inflamed or irritated due to disease or injury. When bursitis occurs in a hip joint, it is called hip bursitis. The bursae, now inflamed, are no longer capable of reducing friction among the components of the joint, bringing about pain, stiffness and swelling.

There are two common areas for bursitis to occur in the hip. The first is near the greater trochanter (the bony point of a person’s hip), where the muscles for movement of the hip joint attach to the bone. One of the hip’s larger bursa can be found here. The second is along the groin side of the hip.

People at a higher risk for bursitis include: older individuals, as bursitis becomes more common with age; persons affected by certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or gout; anyone who participates in an occupation or hobby that involves stress on the bursae, or repeated pressure on the bursae; persons affected by a spinal disease; anyone who develops bone spurs in a joint.

In addition to the hip joint, bursitis also commonly occurs in the elbow, shoulder or knee joints, due to the involvement of these joints in repetitive motions.

To diagnose hip bursitis the doctor will do a physical examination of the patient, which includes manually applying pressure to areas on the hip to test for tenderness and pain levels. Additional tests may be necessary, such as lab tests to analyze fluid drawn from the inflamed bursa or bursae, or imaging tests like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and bone scans to rule out other potential conditions.

Treatment for hip bursitis may include medications to reduce the inflammation in the joint. Other options include physical therapy to rehabilitate or strengthen the muscles in and around the joint, corticosteroid injections to relieve pain, or in rare cases, surgery to drain the fluid in the affected bursae.

Injections of corticosteroid and a local anesthetic for the treatment of hip bursitis usually see good results; the reduction in inflammation allows the bursa time to heal itself and often a follow-up injection will not be necessary.

At-home care for hip bursitis will include rest and low levels of activity, protection of the joint against further injury, cold therapy to reduce swelling, avoidance of applying pressure to the joint, and cushioning of the hip joint when lying down. Sometimes patients will be instructed to walk with the aid of a cane or crutches when re-introducing activities back into their daily routines as they recover from hip bursitis.

Also, if the patient and doctor were able to pinpoint the initial cause or aggravator of the condition, it will be recommended that the individual avoid this activity in the future for the sake of prevention.

Typically hip bursitis will resolve itself after a few weeks of proper conservative care and treatment, although reoccurrences are common.