Skip to main content

1. What is Bursitis of the Hip?

Bursitis of the hip is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs located between bones, muscles, and tendons. These sacs act as cushions to protect these body parts from rubbing against each other and causing inflammation. When the bursae become irritated and swollen, it can cause a sharp, burning pain in the hip and can make it difficult to move around.

Bursitis of the hip is more common in people over the age of 40, but it can also affect athletes, especially those who participate in high-impact sports such as running, basketball, and soccer. People who sit in one position for long periods of time or do repetitive motions with their hips are also at greater risk for developing bursitis.


2. Symptoms of Bursitis of the Hip

Initial symptoms of bursitis of the hip may include pain and tenderness around the hip area, as well as a feeling of tightness in the joint. This discomfort often intensifies with movement, such as when you’re climbing stairs or sitting. You may also notice a decrease in your overall range of motion, as well as difficulty moving the hip in certain directions.

As the condition progresses, the hip joint may swell and become inflamed due to the inflammation of the bursa. This will generally cause the pain to become even more intense. You may also notice a feeling of warmth or heat in the area, and may be unable to put any weight on the affected hip. In severe cases, the joint may even become red and swollen or have an abnormal shape.

In addition to these physical symptoms, it’s also possible to experience general fatigue and a fever, as well as a decrease in your overall mobility. If you’re having difficulty sleeping due to the pain, you may also find yourself feeling irritable or depressed.

3. Causes of Bursitis of the Hip

While there are many causes of bursitis of the hip, some of the most common ones include:

1. Overuse: Constant, repetitive activities, such as running or cycling, can cause inflammation in the bursa sacs around the hip joint leading to bursitis.

2. Poor posture: Certain postures, such as sitting with the legs crossed, can put extra strain on the hip bursae and cause bursitis.

3. Injury: Injury, such as a fall or a direct hit to the hip, can also cause damage to the bursae, leading to inflammation.

4. Infection: Infectious diseases, such as septic bursitis, can also be responsible for bursitis of the hip.

5. Bone spurs: Bony protrusions, known as bone spurs, can form around the hip joint and irritate the bursa.

6. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can both cause inflammation of the bursa, leading to bursitis.

7. Bacterial infection: Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, can cause a bursal infection known as septic bursitis, leading to hip bursitis.

8. Crystals: Uric acid crystals, which are formed from a high-protein diet, can cause inflammation of the hip bursa.

9. Stress: Emotional stress can lead to muscle tension and poor posture which can, in turn, cause inflammation of the bursa.

10. Obesity: Excess weight can put extra strain on the hip bursae, leading to bursitis.


4. How to Manage Pain and Discomfort

Fortunately, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage the pain and discomfort.

  • The most effective way to manage bursitis of the hip is to rest the affected joint.
  • Avoid activities that put pressure on the joint, such as running, jumping, and squatting.
  • Avoid any activities that involve repetitive movements, such as walking up and down stairs.
  • It is important to allow the joint time to rest and heal. You may need to use crutches or a cane to help with walking.
  • In addition to rest, you should also apply ice or cold packs to the affected area for about 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. This can help reduce inflammation and reduce pain.
  • Heat can also be used to relax any tight muscles in the area, but it should not be applied directly to the joint.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to reduce inflammation and pain. They may also recommend physical therapy to help improve joint flexibility and strength.

5. How to Prevent Bursitis of the Hip

Finally, in order to prevent the condition from recurring, it is important to make lifestyle changes. Avoiding activities that strain the joint can help. Strengthening exercises, such as hip strengthening exercises, can also help to improve the joint’s stability and prevent further injury. A physical therapist can help design an exercise program that is right for you. By taking the time to rest and make changes to your lifestyle, you can manage bursitis of the hip and reduce pain and discomfort.

6. How is Hip Bursitis diagnosed?

Hip bursitis is a common source of hip pain and is usually diagnosed through physical examination. During a physical examination, the doctor will look for tenderness over the bursa and will often ask about your medical history. Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to assess the condition of the bursa and surrounding hip structures.

In some cases, lab tests may be used to uncover underlying infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections, which can cause hip bursitis. A sample of fluid from the bursa may be taken and sent for analysis. This is known as an arthrocentesis and can help diagnose conditions such as infection or gout.

Hip bursitis can also be diagnosed based on symptoms and a comparison of the patient’s medical history with the results of a physical examination. Clinical findings such as tenderness over the bursa, pain when moving the hip or lying on the affected side, and limited range of motion in the hip can all point to hip bursitis.

7. Taking Care of Bursitis of the Hip

 It is important to take the necessary steps to properly care for your bursitis of the hip in order to avoid further pain and discomfort. Here are some tips for taking care of bursitis of the hip:

1. Rest: Rest is key to allowing your body to heal. Make sure to take plenty of breaks during the day and get plenty of sleep at night. You may also want to consider taking a few days off of work or other activities to give yourself a chance to rest and recover.

2. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Ice should be applied for 15-20 minutes every hour or two, as needed, throughout the day.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help reduce pain and swelling. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions when taking any medications.

4. Exercise: Exercise is an important part of the healing process. Gentle stretching and low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or biking, can help keep your muscles and joints limber. Be sure to take it slow and listen to your body as you exercise.

5. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can help you with exercises that are specifically tailored to your condition. They can also provide helpful advice on how to properly care for your bursitis of the hip.

6. Compression: Compression garments, such as braces or wraps, can help provide additional support and relief.

7. Alternative Treatments: Some people find relief from their bursitis of the hip using alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or massage. Talk to your doctor to see if these treatments may be right for you.

By taking the proper steps to take care of bursitis of the hip, you can reduce pain and discomfort and speed up the healing process. Remember to rest, ice, and take anti-inflammatory medications as needed, and talk to your doctor about physical therapy and alternative treatments.

8. When Should I See a Doctor

Treatment for hip bursitis usually begins with rest and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. For more severe cases, your doctor may suggest an injection of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and pain. In some cases, physical therapy may be prescribed to help strengthen the muscles around the joint, improve range of motion, and reduce pain. If conservative treatments don’t provide relief, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the inflamed bursa.

No matter what course of treatment your doctor recommends, it’s important to follow their instructions and to practice good self-care. Gentle stretching, foam rolling, and gentle activity can help reduce inflammation and improve range of motion. Applying ice or heat to the area may also bring temporary relief.

While hip bursitis is a common condition, it can be painful and uncomfortable. If you think you may have hip bursitis, Click here to book an appointment with us at Elite Pain and Spine Treatment to diagnose your pain today.