Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

Is there really such a thing as hip bursitis? My grandma used to complain of that but I thought it was an old lady complaint like lumbago. Now my doctor says this is what I have. So my original question still stands: is there such a thing?

Answer:

Pain along the side of the hip is still a common spot for bursitis (also known as greater trochanter pain syndrome. A large tendon passes over the bony bump on the side of the hip called the greater trochanter. Inflammation in the bursa (a protective gel sac) between the tendon and the greater trochanter is called trochanteric bursitis or lateral hip bursitis. You can see there are many names for this problem. Hip bursitis is common in older individuals. Women seem affected more often than men. It may also occur in younger patients who are extremely active in exercises such as walking, running, or biking. Sometimes a bursa can become inflamed (swollen and irritated) because of too much friction or because of an injury to the bursa. An inflamed bursa can cause pain because movement makes the structures around the bursa rub against it. Friction can build in the bursa during walking if the long tendon on the side of the thigh is tight. It is unclear what causes this tightening of the tendon. The gluteus maximus attaches to this long tendon. As you walk, the gluteus maximus pulls this tendon over the greater trochanter with each step. When the tendon is tight, it rubs against the bursa. The rubbing causes friction to build in the bursa, leading to irritation and inflammation. Friction can also start if the outer hip muscle (gluteus medius) is weak, if one leg is longer than the other, or if you walk or run on banked (slanted) surfaces. Most cases of trochanteric bursitis appear gradually with no obvious underlying injury or cause. Trochanteric bursitis can occur after artificial replacement of the hip joint or other types of hip surgery. The cause may be a combination of changes in the way the hip works, the way it is aligned, or the way scar tissue has formed from the healing incision. So, in answer to your question -- yes! Hip bursitis is still a real problem with a real diagnosis. Treatment early on can prevent this painful condition from becoming a chronic problem that might require surgery. Short-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications along with physical therapy may be all the person needs. The physical therapist will correct any postural components, muscle imbalances, and help restore normal function of the affected hip muscles. Paul F. Lachiewicz, MD. Abductor Tendon Tears of the Hip: Evaluation and Management. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. July 2011. Vol. 19. No. 7. Pp. 385-391.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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