Trochanteric Bursitis

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.

If these initial treatments do not alleviate the symptoms, there are other treatment options:

Cortisone injection: An injection of cortisone can be given directly into the bursa in patients who continue to have pain despite rest, medication, and stretching. The cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can make patients feel significantly better. It is usually given with lidocaine, an anesthetic, which give immediate pain relief.

Surgery: Rarely, surgery is necessary for trochanteric bursitis that does not get better with all of the above treatments. The surgery can be done either with a small incision, or arthroscopically. The procedure is an outpatient procedure and patients can walk the following day with only mild pain.

Overall, most patients get better with rest, anti-inflammatories, and a stretching program directed by a physician, athletic trainer, or physical therapist. Patients can expect to see improvement in symptoms quickly, with a resolution of symptoms most often after 6 to 10 weeks. It is important to gradually resume activities so as to not develop bursitis again.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

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UCSF Clinics & Centers


Sports Medicine Center
1500 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA 94158
Appointments: (415) 353–2808
Main: (415) 353–9400
Fax: (415) 885–3862
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