Integrated Pain Management


Hip Bursitis

Hip Bursitis is a painful swelling of the bursae. Bursae are the fluid-filled sacs cushioning ligaments, muscles and tendons in the body around joints.

In normal working, the bursae will assist in the smooth gliding of the muscles, ligaments and tendon over the bones. The bursae contain a small amount of fluid and are positioned between soft tissues and bones and assist in reducing friction during movement.

Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis refers to the inflammation of the bursae around the hips. There are two main bursae around the hip that are typically involved in the inflammation or irritation.

There is one bursa that covers the hip bone and is referred to as the greater trochanter and the inflammation of this bursa is referred to as trochanteric bursitis.

The other bursa is the iliopsoas bursa which is located in the groin side of the hips. When this bursa is inflamed, the condition is referred to as hip bursitis though the pain is experienced in the groin area or in the inner part of the hip. Trochanteric bursitis is more common but the two conditions are handled and treated in a similar manner.

It is important to note that bursitis will not only occur in the hip but also in other areas such as the shoulder, elbow and knee joints. Hip bursitis will either be acute and short-lived or chronic (long lasting).


The symptoms of hip bursitis will include the tenderness and pain experienced in the joint involved. Patients have also described warmth and swelling around the area affected by the condition.

The perceived pain is initially sharp for the first number of days but as the condition progresses it becomes achy and dull.

Most of the patients experience the pain when they are getting out of bed, chair, when sleeping on the affected area and when sitting for a long duration of time.

Acute bursitis will flare over hours or a number of days. Chronic hip bursitis typically lasts for a few days and can go for several weeks with possibilities of going away and coming back.

There is a chance of acute hip bursitis becoming chronic if there is a hip injury or when the pain comes back.

As time passes, the condition can lead to a thick bursa which will make the swelling worse. The swelling will result in limited movement and the muscles may be weakened in the affected area.

Other symptoms include pain in the outer part of the hip, thigh and sometimes in the buttock, pain when the outside area of the hip is pressed and pain when walking up the stairs. The pain involved is known to spread over a wider area of the hip causing great agony and discomfort.


There are a number of causes that are behind hip bursitis and these include injury to the hip that can be caused by the bumping of the hip to and object or when an individual lies on one side of the body for a long period of time.

Work and play activities might also cause hip bursitis especially activities that involve running up the stairs, standing for long time durations and climbing. Poor posture has also been found to increase the risk of developing hip bursitis. A poorly positioned bone or joint can lead to the stress of the surrounding tissues causing bursitis of the hip.

Risk Factors

While hip bursitis can affect anyone, it has been found to be more common in women, elderly and middle-aged people.

This condition is less common in men and in younger individuals. There are factors that increase the chance of developing hip bursitis and these include an injury to the hip as a result of a bump to the hip, a fall, or lying to on ones side of the hip for extended periods.

Spine diseases such as arthritis of the lower spine, scoliosis and other spine problems can increase the risk of developing bursitis of the hip.

Rheumatoid arthritis puts the bursa at a greater risk of getting inflamed. Calcium deposits or bone spurs developing within the tendons around the hips can cause inflammation of the bursa through irritation.

When one leg is shorter than the other one, the walking style is affected and can possibly lead to inflammation of the bursa of the hip. Patients who have had surgery performed around the hip or have had prosthetic implants in the hip are at a greater risk of developing hip bursitis.



Hip bursitis cannot always be prevented but there are steps that can be taken to prevent the existing inflammation from worsening.

The patient should avoid activities that resulted in the stress on the hip whether they are related to posture, work or play. It can be helpful to lose weight for people who need to. Leg length differences should be corrected using a proper fitting shoe insert.

Maintaining the flexibility and strength of the muscle around the hips will assist in protecting the bursae.


The treatment of hip bursitis will not involve surgery initially and most patients will get relief following simple lifestyle alterations.

Through avoiding the activities that make the symptoms worse, the condition will be managed successfully. The pain can be alleviated using NSAIDs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib, piroxicam among others.

Assistive devices such as crutches and walking canes may be used when the need arises. Physical therapy has been found to be effective and this is in form of exercises that target the flexibility and the strength of the hip muscles.

The injection of steroids such as corticosteroids combined with local anesthetics may assist in alleviating the hip bursitis symptoms.

Surgery will rarely be used in the treatment of hip bursitis. When the bursa is still painful and inflamed, even after the use of all conservative treatment methods, surgery becomes an option.

The surgery will involve the removal of the bursa. This will not cause any damage to the hip and the hip will still function normally without it.