Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric Bursitis

What Is Trochanteric Bursitis ?

An inflammatory condition of a fluid-filled sac that is next to the hip joint. It occupies a superficial position and when when it’s irritated or inflamed it can result in hip pain.

It is usually a slow-process which progresses over time. Typically due to friction, overuse, direct trauma or too much pressure.

What Causes It

Tochanteric bursitis can be attributed to numerous factors as given below:

  • Can develop over a period due to repeated friction from various muscles or ligaments on the bursa.
  • Overuse of your hip joints with any exercise especially if you haven’t warmed up or stretched the joints before starting an intense or new activity.
  • Sports trauma, a fall on your hip or after a lateral sided hip surgical procedure.
  • Incorrect posture due to medical conditions like arthritis of the lumbar spine (lower back region), scoliosis, kyphosis and other spinal condition – which usually leads to favouring 1 side which causes over pressure and hence bursitis.
  • Unequal leg length will place more pressure on one leg.
  • Lying on one side of your body for a prolonged period on a hard surface.
  • Formation of bone spurs on the hip bone or calcium deposits within tendons connected to the greater trochanter/top of the hip bone.


Trochanteric bursitis can encompass a range of symptoms which may include:

  • Generalized hip pain located on the outer aspect of the thigh or occasionally in the buttock.
  • Hip pain when lying on the painful hip.
  • Sharp pain when pressing on the outer region of the hip.
  • Difficulty going up stairs.
  • Increased hip pain when standing up from a low chair or when exiting the car.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Physical examination of the affected region by your Doctor, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor will help diagnose your condition. There is tenderness when applying pressure on the side of the hip bone.

A definite diagnosis of this condition can be made by imaging investigations including ultrasound, CT scan and MRI.

Trochanteric Bursitis Treatment

Pain Relief

  • Ice therapy to reduce the inflammation in the acute phase or when it is very irritable.
  • Remedial massage for the surrounding muscle groups
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy
  • Foot orthotics
  • Advice on how to sleep comfortably. Sleeping posture advices include avoiding sleeping on the affected side if you can, or if you must then use a donut-shaped pillow which will take the pressure off the bursa.
  • The most important will be to change the activity which is causing the inflammation e.g standing on both feet equally
Trochanteric Bursitis

Restoring Your Hip Movement

Your Physiotherapist will guide you through a rehabilitation program aimed to restore the;

  • Length and strength of your muscles
  • Joints of your hip and lower back.

They will also assess your balance and walking or running patterns. Our bodies are amazing mechanisms that fire certain muscle group to turn on at the right time and in the correct order. In order to produce a pain-free movement of your hip, there is a pattern that muscle fibers fire, that is, first deep followed by intermediate and lastly superficial muscle groups. Your physiotherapist will assess for any muscle recruitment abnormalities will assign particular exercises to address the issue such as:

  • Iliotibial band stretch
  • Gluteal stretch exercise
  • Wall hamstring stretch
  • Hip extension strengthening
  • Hip abduction strengthening


The following measures can be adopted to avoid developing a trochanteric bursitis:

  • Wear appropriate footwear to prevent any imbalance related to biomechanics.
  • Develop better muscle strength and stress endurance, as muscle fatigue and weakness are major predisposing factors for bursitis recurrence.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce the load on your hip joints and surrounding muscles.
  • Regular warm up before exercise, stretching your lower limbs and maintaining good posture throughout your day.

The Interval For Recovery

Physiotherapy or Chiropractic treatment is effective in treating trochanteric bursitis but is paramount to identify the cause and remove the aggravating factor. Trochanteric bursitis usually requires six weeks of rehabilitation for a full recovery but may vary depending on the severity and if other conditions are overlapping.

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