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Hip bursitis, also known as trochanteric bursitis, is a common condition that causes pain along the outside of the hip and thigh. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that are located around larger joints and work to reduce friction between tissues. This fluid-filled sac can become irritated and inflamed leading to symptoms. One of the biggest challenges of hip bursitis is that it can be quite stubborn and become a chronic injury. This can be very frustrating, preventing you from engaging in activities that you enjoy. In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why hip bursitis can turn chronic and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Causes of Hip Bursitis:
Hip Bursitis is commonly caused by limited hip range of motion and weakness. These deficits can lead to mechanical faults during functional movements including walking, running, and squatting which can lead to irritation of the bursa. This can be further exacerbated with repetitive or strenuous movements that put a greater stress on structures surrounding the hip. Individuals such as runners and cyclists are commonly affected by this. Running or cycling training plan errors, such as progressing mileage too rapidly, or not incorporating a strength training program, can place an individual at greater risk of developing symptoms.
Hip bursitis is highly associated with gluteal tendinopathy which can further complicate the healing process. Gluteal tendinopathy occurs when the tendon of the glute musculature begins to break down. As a result, the recovery process should work on addressing strength, range of motion, and mechanical faults to reduce the irritation of the bursa and improve the health of the glute tendon.
Treating Hip Bursitis:
1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be an effective way to help treat hip bursitis. A physical therapist will identify potential root causes and will develop a program to address those impairments likely leading to symptoms. They will incorporate manual therapy techniques as appropriate and exercises to reduce symptoms and restore proper function of the hip.
2. Activity Modification: It is important to modify activities that tend to aggravate symptoms. A general rule of thumb is to keep pain below a 3/10. Runners and cyclists should modify their training plans to avoid further irritation of the bursa or gluteal tendon. This may include reducing mileage or pace to make the workout more successful. It is recommended individuals continue to stay active and exercise if able as they rehabilitate. Individuals with more severe symptoms may benefit from resting or significantly reducing their activities.
3. Ice and Compression: Ice can be a beneficial tool to reduce pain in the hip or thigh. It should be applied for 15-20 minutes over the affected area. Compressing the tissue along the lateral aspect of the hip and thigh with tools such as a foam roller or tennis ball can also be beneficial in desensitizing the irritated tissue.
4. Medications: There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with hip bursitis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation, while corticosteroid injections can be used to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected joint.
Hip bursitis can be a painful and frustrating condition that can disrupt daily life. Understanding what makes hip bursitis worse can help patients manage symptoms and take steps to prevent further aggravation. With proper self-care and attentiveness, individuals can overcome hip bursitis and resume a life that is free from pain and discomfort.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of hip bursitis, it is important to speak with your doctor or a physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Remember, early treatment is key to preventing the condition from getting worse.
Schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today to get started on your journey to being pain-free!