Bursae are small, fluid filled sacs that provide cushioning between tendons and bones near joints. In the hip joint, there is a bursa on the greater trochanter – the part of the thigh bone that can be felt on the side, at the widest point of the hips. This bursa absorbs the friction between the greater trochanter and a major group of tendons called the iliotibial band (ITB), which connect the thigh to the knee. Injury or inflammation of a bursa is called bursitis. Trochanteric bursitis manifests as pain in the side of the hip and the buttocks.

Symptoms of Trochanteric Bursitis

Symptoms of trochanteric bursitis worsen with use and will continue to worsen overtime without rest from aggravating activities. Symptoms include:

  • Aching pain in the side of the hip that becomes sharp
  • Pain extending to the outer thigh, the groin or the buttocks
  • Pain with weight-bearing activity (i.e. using stairs, walking, running)
  • Pain upon pressure (sleeping/lying on the side)
  • Weakness in the muscles of the hips
  • Swelling may be noticeable in severe cases

Causes of Trochanteric Bursitis

There are multiple reasons why bursae may become inflamed or irritated, and sometimes the condition may be idiopathic, with no obvious cause. Below are some common causes of trochanteric bursitis:

  • Acute injury – compressive blow to the hip or a fall.
  • Continued compression – lying on the hip on a hard surface etc.
  • Repetitive overuse of ITB – common in cyclists due to repetitive flexion/extension at the hip.
  • Increasing age – Trochanteric bursitis is more common in people > 45 years surfaces
  • Weakness/instability of muscles/tendons of the hip

Treatment and management

Your osteopath can perform an examination to properly diagnose the condition and identify the cause. They may also assist with or recommend the following:

  • Osteopathic treatment of surrounding muscles & tendons to reduce pressure and pain in the hip
  • Specific rehabilitation exercises and stretches
  • Identification of the cause of your hip pain
  • Reducing inflammation with medications or ice
  • Rest from aggravating activities

What to avoid

  • Do not self-prescribe stretches or exercises, as you may aggravate the injury
  • Do not massage the area
  • Do not apply heat or heat creams to the affected area
  • Avoid engaging in the activity that may have caused the problem

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