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Devices that help you walk such as canes or crutches may help relieve the pain when needed.
What Is the Fastest Way To Heal Bursitis of the Hip?
Your body has over 150 bursae. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. Two major bursae are located in your hip and most cases of hip bursitis will heal with rest and at-home care. But medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, fluid removal, and surgery are additional options for treatment and relief.
Bursae are small, jelly-like sacs that cushion areas where tendons, bones, ligaments, and muscles rub against each other. They are filled with a small amount of fluid and act as a cushion in these areas. There are over 150 bursae in the human body. Bursitis is an inflammation of one of these bursae. Bursitis is more common in women and older people, but it can affect anyone.
Your body has 150 bursae. Two major ones are located in your hip. One of the major hip bursae is located at the bony part of your hip bone called the greater trochanter. Inflammation of this bursa is called greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS), or trochanteric bursitis.
Your iliopsoas bursa is the other major hip bursa, located on the inside of your hip by the groin. Inflammation of the iliopsoas bursa is not as common as trochanteric bursitis, but it is treated in a similar fashion.
Symptoms of hip bursitis
Symptoms of hip bursitis include:
- Pain at the side of the hip or outside of the thigh
- Difficulty walking
- Joint stiffness
- Warmth and swelling at the hip joint
- Clicking sensation
The pain is often worse at night, when you are resting on the hip that hurts. It may also be painful to rise from a chair after sitting for a while. You may have severe pain when squatting, going up and down stairs, or walking for an extended period of time.
Causes of hip bursitis
Trochanteric bursitis can be caused by the following:
- Repetitive activities like running, cycling, or stair climbing
- Injuring your hip, such as in a fall
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spine diseases such as scoliosis or arthritis
- Bone spurs or calcium deposits of the hip
- One leg being shorter than the other
- Arthritis in the hip, knee, or foot
- Being overweight
- Foot issues such as bunions or plantar fasciitis
- Previous surgery of the hip
Anyone can develop hip bursitis but it is more common in older people and women.
Diagnosis for bursitis of the hip?
If you have symptoms of bursitis, visit your doctor. They will listen to your symptoms and perform a physical exam to check for tenderness of the hip. To make a definite diagnosis, your doctor might ask for X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or an ultrasound.
Treatments for bursitis of the hip
Many cases of bursitis will heal with rest and at-home care. Additionally, the following measures may help:
Avoid activities that worsen the pain. Apply ice or cold packs at the onset of pain for 10 to 15 minutes, up to three times an hour. After 3 days, you can use heat or alternate heat and ice.
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may help with pain and inflammation. NSAIDs should be used with care and only for a limited time. They can cause stomach irritation and other side effects. Discuss all medication use with your doctor.
A cane or crutches
Devices that help you walk such as canes or crutches may help relieve the pain when needed.
Your doctor may inject a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid into the bursa. This simple treatment is very effective and can be done in the doctor’s office. It may provide temporary or permanent relief. If the pain returns, another injection may be given several months later.
Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to help with hip strength and flexibility. A physical therapist can show you how to do exercises at home to help stretch your muscles. It’s also a good idea to gently move your hip through a full range of motion even while you are resting so that it doesn’t get stiff.
Removing fluid from bursa
In cases of severe bursitis, your doctor may use a needle to remove extra fluid from the bursa.
Surgery is not typically needed to treat hip bursitis. Your doctor may recommend removing the bursa only if your problems continue after all nonsurgical treatments have been tried. Your hip can function normally without the bursa. This may be done arthroscopically, using a small camera. A small incision is made and the doctor uses the camera to view the bursa and remove it. This type of surgery is less invasive. It allows you to heal faster than you would from traditional surgery.
Regardless of which treatment option works for you, here are some ways to prevent bursitis from recurring:
- Avoid repetitive movements that put stress on the hip joint.
- Swim instead of running or cycling for exercise.
- Use shoe inserts if needed for foot problems or leg-length differences.
- Strengthen your core muscles and hip muscles.
- Avoid standing for long lengths of time.
- Lose weight if needed.
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Risks and side effects of treatments
Some treatments for hip bursitis can have risks and side effects. Here are some common side effects that result from the following treatments:
- Stomach ulcers
- Allergic reaction
- In rare cases, liver, kidney, or heart problems
- Pain around the injection site for a few days
- Loss of fat around site of injection
- Increased blood sugar level if you have diabetes
- Increased blood pressure if you have high blood pressure
- Infection that causes redness, swelling, and pain
- Nerve or blood vessel injury
- Failure of the surgery
Talk with your doctor to be sure you’re choosing the right treatment for you and minimizing your chance of negative side effects.
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Boston Medical Center: “Hip Bursitis Treatment.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Trochanteric Bursitis.”
National Health Service: “NSAIDs.”
National Health Service: “Steroid Injection.”
Ortho NorCal: “Trochanteric Bursitis of the Hip.”
OrthoInfo: “Hip Bursitis.”
Stanford Health Care: “Bursitis.”
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Bursitis of the hip results when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) near the hip becomes inflamed due to localized soft tissue trauma or strain. Symptoms include stiffness and pain around the hip joint. If the hip bursa is not infected, hip bursitis can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
Arthritis, bursitis, IT band syndrome, fracture, and strain are just some of the causes of hip pain. Associated symptoms and signs include swelling, tenderness, difficulty sleeping on the hip, and loss of range of motion of the hip. Treatment depends upon the cause of the hip pain but may include anti-inflammatory medications and icing and resting the hip joint.
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News & Insights
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. Bursae are sacs filled with a jelly-like substance that help to reduce friction and pain between bones and soft tissues. There are two bursae in the hip joint, and when a bursa becomes irritated and inflamed, pain is usually the first sign. It is often initially sharp and, over time, becomes more of a chronic ache. Swelling, warmth, and redness may also be seen at the hip.
Activities or positions that put pressure on the hip bursa, such as lying down, sitting in one position for a long time, or walking distances can irritate the bursa and cause more pain. It is also important to learn the hip bursitis exercises to avoid making the condition worse.
Hip Bursitis Treatment
While things like medication for pain and inflammation and steroid injections can be helpful, physical therapy is one of the most important components of treating hip bursitis. Many people can do exercises at home to help with hip bursitis. But knowing which hip bursitis exercises to avoid is just as important as knowing how to do helpful exercises properly.
Many people with hip bursitis have difficulty walking. Using a cane or walker when the bursitis is particularly bad will help prevent falls and add much-needed support to the hip.
Surgery is an option reserved for the most severe cases that have not responded to trials of the other techniques (i.e., physical therapy, medication, injections into the bursa, and assistive devices). Focusing on the proper activity and exercise can make a big difference in hip strength and flexibility while reducing pain. But equally important is knowing which exercises to avoid with hip bursitis.
Seven Exercises to Avoid with Hip Bursitis
- Running. This exercise is terrific for lots of people, but not for someone with hip bursitis. Quite simply, running puts tremendous pressure on the hip, and when the bursa is already inflamed, this is not a good idea.
- Bicycling. The body’s position when riding a bicycle places most of the weight directly onto the hip. The result is likely to be increased pain and worsening of bursitis. So all bicycling should be limited to a late stage in the recovery process and should begin very slowly and gently.
- Deep Squats. These exercises also require too much from the hips. There is no way to do a deep squat without putting substantial pressure on the hips.
- Leg Lifts. Whether straight leg lifts or side leg lifts, these exercises also require strong hip muscles and put much weight onto the hips. This needs to be avoided in those with hip bursitis.
- Cardio Machines. Things like treadmills, stair-climbers, and elliptical machines all require healthy hips to exercise properly on them. All cardio machines involve exercises to avoid with hip bursitis.
- Sideways Exercises. Whether exercising by tilting the body to the side or simply walking or sitting at an angle, hip bursitis will generally worsen if the body’s posture is not kept straight.
- Any Activity for Too Long. This includes sitting, lying down, standing, and doing various helpful exercises for hip bursitis, such as swimming (where water provides all-around support) or stretching exercises that do not send a leg off to the side. Most people with hip bursitis notice that the total lack of movement and repetitive movements for too long worsen pain and disability.
While all of these are exercises to avoid with hip bursitis some specific ideas are helpful to know and understand to care for bursitis properly.
Is Stretching Bad for Hip Bursitis?
The answer is it depends. Some kind of stretching can be very helpful for hip bursitis, while other kinds may make it worse. The best advice to always keep in mind is: “Always listen to the body.” If an activity, including what may seem like a simple, easy stretch, causes pain in the hip to worsen, stop doing that activity.
Any exercise designed to help hip bursitis should not cause significant pain or discomfort. Some stretches are usually helpful for people with hip bursitis. These are just three examples of many stretches that an orthopedic doctor or physical therapist can demonstrate.
Lie on your back and bend both knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place the ankle of your hip with bursitis onto your opposite thigh near your knee. Using your hand, gently push your knee downward. Once you feel a gentle stretch at your hip, stop. Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds if you can. You can also do this exercise again but try gently pulling your knee upward toward the opposite shoulder.
Lie on your side with your bad hip on the top and your head on a pillow. Keep your feet and knees together, and your knees slightly bent. Then lift your top knee while keeping your feet together. Try to keep your hips from rolling. The legs should open up like a clamshell. Try to hold this position for 5 seconds, and then slowly lower your knee down. Rest for at least 10 seconds before repeating.
Standing straight against a wall, cross your good leg over the bad one so the leg with the hip bursitis is behind the good leg. Next, try to bend forward toward the inside of the back foot without bending your knees. If you can, hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Then uncross your legs and stand up straight. This usually should not be repeated more than a few times.
Ultimately, orthopedic doctors and physical therapists are the best resources for helping to determine the best exercises, learning how to do them properly, and discovering the exercises to avoid with hip bursitis. Reading a description of an exercise often leads to a poor imitation and a harmful attempt at what would otherwise be a helpful exercise.
So, anytime there are questions or concerns, contacting one of the specialists at the Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey will often save a lot of time to recover and unneeded pain from “trial-and-error.” For example, sometimes, it is not the case that there are hip bursitis exercises to avoid, but effective exercises are not being done properly.
What Aggravates Hip Bursitis?
Besides doing exercises incorrectly or engaging in an activity for too long, as discussed above, other things can also worsen hip bursitis. Sometimes other diseases can cause or make hip bursitis worse, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, and thyroid disease. The best way to limit the effects of these diseases on hip bursitis is to manage these other diseases by following the directions of a healthcare provider.
Other things that can aggravate hip bursitis include too much pressure on the hip, poor overall posture, and engaging in activities that overuse the muscles in the hip. Even climbing a single flight of stairs can cause pain for some people with hip bursitis. While there are activities and exercises to avoid with hip bursitis, everyone with hip bursitis will discover for themselves what aggravates and alleviates the pain of hip bursitis.
How to Heal Hip Bursitis Fast
While age and other hip conditions can slow the recovery from hip bursitis, healing from hip bursitis rapidly has much to do with how aggressively the hip bursitis sufferer responds to the condition. At the first sign of a painful hip, ice packs should be applied every 4 hours for 20 minutes at a time. Rest is necessary initially as any activity is going to worsen the problem.
The next step should be to contact a qualified orthopedic physician specializing in bursitis of the hip and other conditions causing hip pain such as arthritis, tendinitis, and even fractures.
Before worrying about exercises that are good to do and those exercises to avoid with hip bursitis, it is important to ensure that any hip pain is caused by bursitis. An orthopedic specialist at the Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey is the doctor to see.
Find an orthopedic hip specialist near you. With three urgent care centers, contacting OINJ now can save you time in pain, worry, and limited activity.