Trochanteric Bursitis


What is trochanteric bursitis?

Bursa are small jelly-like sacs that are located around major joints throughout the body. They are positioned between bones and soft tissues, acting as cushions to help reduce friction. Bursitis occurs when there is inflammation of the bursa. There is a bursa that covers the outside point of the hip bone (called the greater trochanter), and when this becomes irritated and inflamed, it is called trochanteric bursitis. This is a common cause of hip pain, and can occur following injury or overuse.


What are the symptoms?  

  • Pain on the lateral (outside) aspect of the hip, that may radiate to the thigh or buttock
  • Pain that is worse at night
  • Difficulty lying on the affected side
  • Tenderness over the outside of the hip
  • Worsening pain during activities such as prolonged walking, stair climbing, or squatting
  • Pain when getting up from a chair or getting out of a car


How is trochanteric bursitis treated?

Many people with hip bursitis can experience relief with simple lifestyle changes. Initial treatment typically involves rest, activity modification, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and physical therapy. Steroid injections may also be helpful in relieving symptoms of hip bursitis, and is a simple and effective treatment that can be done in the doctor's office. The injection may provide temporary (months) or permanent relief. If pain and inflammation return, another injection given a few months after may be needed. It is important to limit the number of injections, as prolonged corticosteroid injections may damage the surrounding tissues.

If the bursa remains inflamed and painful after all non-surgical treatments, Dr. Potts may recommend surgical removal of the bursa with a trochanteric bursectomy. Removal of the bursa does not hurt the hip, and the hip can function normally without it.