Trochanteric Bursitis

What is Trochanteric Bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the trochanteric bursa.  The trochanteric bursa sits on the side of the hip working as a lubricant for the movement of the muscles of the hip joint.  The bursa can become inflamed for no obviously definable reason but is also seen in rheumatoid arthritis, hip joint disorders, tight iliotobial band or after an injury.

Some patients may develop degenerative changes in the tendons around the hip in association with the inflammation.

Trochanteric bursitis affects people of all ages and activity levels.  It typically causes pain felt in the outer thigh, which worsens with long walks, stair climbing or prolonged standing.  Lying on the effected side often produces discomfort at night.  There may be associated muscle weakness causing limp or unsteadiness when on one leg.  Most patients report gradual onset of increasing discomfort over weeks or months which fluctuates with activity levels.


What is the treatment for Trochanteric Bursitis?

Most patients respond well to non operative treatments.  The main treatment is sustained physiotherapy. Medications are often used such as a short course of anti-inflammatory tablets and intermittent cortico-steroid injections. Recovery usually takes a number of months.

Surgery is usually considered only after other treatments have been attempted and proven to be ineffective.  Most often arthroscopic surgery  (keyhole surgery) is used.  The tight band of tissue on the side of the hip (iliotibial band) is released and the inflammed bursa removed.  If present, a torn or damaged abductor tendon can be repaired.  Recovery is usually quick.