Trochanteric bursitis is a medical condition that occurs as a result of inflammation of the bursa at the outside (lateral) point of the hip known as the greater trochanter.
A bursa is a sac that usually contains a small amount of fluid and functions as a friction-reducing structure between two anatomical structures, e.g. bone and tendon.
When this bursa becomes irritated or inflamed, it causes pain in the hip. Bursitis is characterized by soft-tissue swelling, localized pain, synovial thickening and increased fluid in the bursa.
Causes of bursitis
Trochanteric bursitis can result from one or more of the following:
- Direct trauma: This can include falling onto the hip, bumping the hip into an object.
- Mechanical overload: lying on one side of the body for an extended period.
- Overuse: stair climbing, running, or standing for long periods of time can cause overuse or injury to the bursa tissue which may result in trochanteric bursitis.
- Compression of the tendon (and bursa): Stress on the soft tissues as a result of an abnormal or poorly positioned joint or bone (such as leg length differences or arthritis in a joint).
- poor pelvic control or weak hip abductors
- Gluteus medius and minimus tears (degenerative or traumatic)
Bursitis is more common in women and in middle-aged or elderly people. Beyond the situations mentioned above, in many cases, the cause of trochanteric bursitis is unknown.
Trochanteric bursitis reveals the following:
- Lateral hip pain
- Pain to the lateral thigh and knee
- Local tenderness over the greater trochanter
- Pain with side-lying on the affected side and sometimes when lying on the unaffected side too due to hip adduction on the affected side
- Pain with weight-bearing activities
- Pain with sitting crossed-legged
- Pain with prolonged sitting
Treatment goals include reducing pain and inflammation (swelling), preserving mobility, and preventing disability and recurrence.
At Esther’s Place Well-Being Hub, the physical therapist may make some recommendations which includes a combination of rest, splints, heat and cold application.
He/she will design a therapeutic program including:
- Range of motion exercises (stretches)
- TENS treatment
- Ultrasound therapy
- Thermal therapy (heat]
- Cryotherapy (ice)
- Soft tissue mobilization
In a worst case scenario, your therapist or healthcare provider will recommend a corticosteroid injection or surgery by a specialist.
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