The most common bursitis of the hip is trochanteric bursitis.

What is trochanteric bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis describes a condition that occurs when the trochanteric bursa becomes inflamed. The trochanteric bursa is a small fluid filled sac that can be found on the outer part of the hip which helps to protect other tissues from friction or compression.

What causes trochanteric bursitis?

Prolonged or repetitive activities that place strain on the trochanteric bursa are what most commonly cause bursitis. Activities such as repetitive walking (especially on uneven surfaces or up hills) or running, lunging and squatting can all contribute to trochanteric bursitis as well as placing pressure on the bursa for example lying on your side on a hard surface for a sustained period of time.

Sometimes, if the hip suffers a direct blow this too can bring on symptoms of trochanteric bursitis.

Trochanteric bursitis can also present secondary to the following conditions:

  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Calcium deposits in the gluteal tendons running over the bursa

What are the symptoms of trochanteric bursitis?

There are a few different symptoms of trochanteric bursitis and the levels of pain will vary depending on how severe your bursitis is.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain on the outer aspect of the hip
  • Pain radiating down the outer part of the thigh to the knee
  • Aching
  • Stiffness
  • Pain when touching the trochanteric bursa
  • Pain when sitting with your legs crossed
  • Occasionally weakness of the lower limb may present when trying to climb stairs, squat or quickly speed up when running

How is trochanteric bursitis diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can carry out a full hip assessment to diagnose whether or not you have trochanteric bursitis or if it is something else is causing your hip problems. Diagnosis may also be confirmed with a scan such as an ultrasound or MRI scan.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for trochanteric bursitis?

Following on from your assessment, your physiotherapist will create a tailor made exercise programme based on their findings.

There are several different treatment options that are available for trochanteric bursitis and your physiotherapist will pick the most appropriate treatment methods based on your symptoms and response to different treatment methods. Usually a number of treatment methods are used.

Physiotherapy can include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Ultrasound
  • Core stability exercises
  • Advice regarding activity modification
  • Gradual return to functional/sporting activities
  • Corticosteroid advice
  • Anti-inflammatory advice

Benefit of physiotherapy for trochanteric bursitis?

Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for trochanteric bursitis and it helps to speed up the recovery process and prevent you from re-injuring yourself. The particular benefits you feel from physiotherapy will be dependent on your original symptoms and goals.

Physiotherapy aims to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Restore range of movement
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Improve core stability
  • Prevent re-injury

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: