Trochanteric Bursitis

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Trochanteric Bursitis

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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