The human body contains about 160 small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae, essential in preventing or reducing tissue friction. In an ideal world, these tiny sacs function well, and you can move freely and without pain. The opposite can be true when one of these sacs becomes inflamed, particularly in a major joint like your hip.
Before we jump into the primary signs of hip bursitis, let’s quickly discuss this surprisingly prevalent condition, which affects about 15% of women and 8% of men.
As we mentioned, bursa sacs are filled with fluid and scattered throughout your body to help separate hard tissues from soft ones and keep them from rubbing against each other.
In your hips, there are two major bursae pairs:
Hip bursitis, inflammation in your hip’s bursa sac, most often develops in the trochanteric bursae outside your hips.
Hip bursitis often stems from repetitive use, arthritis, an injury to your hips, or any condition that leads to uneven leg lengths.
Now, let’s get into three of the most common signs of hip bursitis, which all boil down to different variations of pain and stiffness.
The first symptom that will grab your attention is pain. If you have bursitis in the trochanteric bursa, you will likely experience sharp pain on the outside of your hip, which can affect your upper thigh. The sharp pain can give way to a dull ache as the condition progresses.
If the bursitis develops in an iliopsoas bursa, the pain will be in your groin.
Many people with hip bursitis develop stiffness in the affected joint, especially after inactivity. The inflammation can worsen when you’re not moving around, making your first few steps stiff and painful.
Another common complaint among people with hip bursitis is pain at night, especially if you try to sleep on the side with the inflamed bursa sac.
If we diagnose you with hip bursitis, our frontline treatments are trochanteric bursa injections, which contain corticosteroids that reduce the pain and the inflammation.
How long these hip injections provide relief depends — some people enjoy many weeks while others get a year or more of results.
In addition to the injections, we recommend activity modifications to give your hip a rest and physical therapy, which can help strengthen the muscles that support your hips.
Between the injections, rest, and physical therapy, we’re confident that we can help relieve the discomfort of hip bursitis.
For expert diagnosis and treatment of hip bursitis, we invite you to schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.