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Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric Bursitis, also known as hip bursitis is a very common hip problem that causes pain along the outside of the upper thigh. It can occur in athletes who must do a lot of running as part of their training. It is most common in runners, but also seen in bikers, soccer players, and football players. It can also occur after a fall onto the hip and may be associated with bruising in the area. Finally, hip bursitis is seen in patients who have had a hip fracture surgery or hip replacement, where the surgery causes irritation of the bursa overlying the greater trochanter.

Patients often complain of a burning pain on the outside of the upper thigh. The pain can travel down the outer thigh, but rarely crosses the knee. Patients often are tender in the area of the bursa, and have difficulty sleeping on that side.

During the physical exam, patients will be tender in the area of the bursa and will often have a very tight iliotibial band (IT band) over the area. X-rays are usually taken, but do not usually show anything. An MRI is sometimes ordered if the diagnosis is in question or to make sure there is nothing else going on in the area.

The initial treatment of trochanteric bursitis is rest, anti-inflammatories, ice, and stretching in order to allow the bursa to recover.

Rest: Consists of a period of time where participation in any activity (for example, running or biking) that causes pain to the hip bursa.

Anti-inflammatories: Medications such as motrin, aleve, or ibuprofen can be very helpful in controlling the inflammation and pain associated with the bursitis.

Ice : Can help improve the symptoms of bursitis, especially following exercise and physical therapy.

Stretching: Many patients with trochanteric bursitis have a very tight IT band. A course of stretching the IT band usually improves the symptoms dramatically over a course of just a few weeks.

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Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

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