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what is hip bursitis

What Is Hip Bursitis?

by Paige Gibbens, PT, DPTLeave a Comment

Bursitis? So, what is a bursa? A bursa is a fluid filled sac that is utilized to reduce friction and improve mobility near joints and bony areas. What is bursitis? Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. The hip has multiple bursa that can be involved in bursitis. So, how does bursitis affect my hip?

What Is Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis can come in multiple variations, the most common variation being trochanteric bursitis.2 Bursitis is usually not a primary injury. It is secondary to something else, an “effect of a cause.” What does this mean? Bursitis typically comes from something in the hip not working “normally.”

There are many causes of trochanteric bursitis including a traumatic injury, overuse, poor posture, previous surgery or abnormal bony structure.3 The most common cause of hip bursitis is muscular imbalance. The human body is amazing, it attempts to do everything we do without pain and making it as easy as possible. This results in our muscles to working differently during injuries or pain, causing compensatory patterns and further problems.

Do I Have It?

Typical signs and symptoms of true trochanteric bursitis are1:

  • Point tenderness on the outside of the hip
  • Pain when lying on the affected side
  • Pain that increases with increasing high impact activities
  • Pain getting in and out of a chair or car
  • Pain walking up stairs
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Treatment Options

Treatment for trochanteric bursitis typically is conservative with rest and physical therapy (PT). Injections can be utilized in rare cases to help reduce inflammation and pain.2 PT can help to determine motion and functional limitations, as well as strength deficits and muscle imbalances. Activities performed at PT may include, but are not limited to: balance, small and large muscular strengthening, manual therapies, and mobility training. Manual therapies could include addressing soft tissue, improving tissue length and joint mobility.4

With PT for hip bursitis, each patient is treated as an individual and treatment will be geared toward the patient’s goals and lifestyle. This allows for patients to return to prior recreational activities and hobbies, as well as improve their quality of life. PT could also help to prevent further overuse/misuse injuries from occurring. The physical therapist can identify if symptoms are consistent with something more serious than bursitis, like a torn gluteus medius tendon, and can help direct those cases to a hip preservation surgeon for further evaluation.

Do you have hip pain? Contact Athletico for a free assessment. The Athletico team will take a look at your pain or soreness complaint and provide recommendations for a treatment plan.

Free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Schedule a Free Assessment

If you are interested in learning more about Athletico’s Hip Preservation Program, including hip arthroscopy risk assessment, please email

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Trochanteric bursitis (hip bursitis). (n.d.). Retrieved from
2. Bursitis. (2017, August 12). Retrieved from
3. Seidman, A. J., & Varacallo, M. J. (2019). Trochanteric bursitis. Europe PMC.
4. Sizer, P. S., Phelps, V., Brismee, J.-M., vanParidon, D., & Matthijs, O. (n.d.). Diagnosis-Specific Orthopedic Management of the Hip. IAOM-US.

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About the Author:
Paige Gibbens is a physical therapist specializing in lower extremity treatments and is certified in dry needling and Graston. She is also the Missouri & Southern Illinois regional coordinator for Athletico's Endurance Program.

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