Hip bursitis is a common cause of hip pain. It is most often caused by inflammation due to strain, but occasionally it can occur due to an infection.
What is hip bursitis?
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that can be found around the body, including near the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip and heel.
If the bursae become inflamed, this is called hip bursitis and can be a cause of pain in different areas of the hip, depending on which bursae are affected.
Trochanteric bursitis is when the bursa that covers the bony point of the hip bone (the greater trochanter) is affected, and iliopsoas bursitis is when the issue is localised in the groin area. The latter is less common, but can be treated in a similar way to the former.
What are the symptoms of hip bursitis?
If you have hip bursitis, you will experience pain in the hip area. In the early stages, this pain may be more sharp or intense, and will eventually progress into a more dull ache and extend into a larger area of the hip.
You also may experience:
- Pain when you touch the area
What causes hip bursitis?
Hip bursitis is more likely to affect middle aged or elderly people and is generally more common amongst women than men.
Some causes of hip bursitis include:
- Injury – this could be either related to overuse or trauma
- Disease in the spine – for example, arthritis, scoliosis
- If legs are different lengths
- Surgery around the hip area
- Bone spurs
- Calcium deposits
- Being overweight or obese
How is hip bursitis diagnosed?
To diagnose hip bursitis, your consultant will conduct a physical examination. They may also request that you undergo:
- Blood tests – to see whether they are other conditions present (e.g. gout, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Medical imaging test (X-ray, MRIs, ultrasound) – to determine if there has been damage to the surrounding muscles
How is hip bursitis treated?
The treatment for hip bursitis will depend upon whether or not it is caused by an infection and on its severity.
Non-surgical options include:
- Weight loss
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Steroid injections
- Aspiration (draining of the bursa with a needle)
Surgical options include:
- Removal of the affected bursa (can be either an open procedure or arthroscopic)
- Osteotomy – removing part of the hip bone
- Tendon repair surgery