A Deep Dive Into Hip Bursitis: Effective Treatments To Consider

hip bursitis

Every step sends a sharp, nagging twinge through your hip, turning even the simplest of daily activities into painful chores. You might find yourself wincing while getting out of bed or avoiding activities that once brought joy. If this resonates with you, you could be grappling with hip bursitis, a condition that’s more than just a fleeting discomfort—it’s a sign from your body that it needs attention. As you dive into this comprehensive guide, you’ll unravel the mysteries of hip bursitis, from its causes to potential treatments, empowering you with the knowledge to reclaim your mobility and comfort.

Defining Hip Bursitis: More than Just Hip Pain

Defining Hip Bursitis_ More than Just Hip PainAt its core, hip bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae—small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your hip joint. Think of these sacs as tiny shock absorbers designed to reduce friction and facilitate smooth movement between these structures.

While hip pain can arise from a myriad of reasons, from arthritis to muscle strains, hip bursitis has its own unique set of causes and symptoms. It specifically stems from the inflammation or irritation of these sacs, leading to pain that is localized and sharp, often intensifying during movement or when lying on the affected hip.

Distinguishing between hip bursitis and other hip conditions is crucial. While many hip-related issues can share overlapping symptoms, the treatment and management strategies often vary. By accurately identifying the root cause of your pain, you’re better equipped to take the most effective steps toward relief.

Unraveling the Common Causes of Bursitis in Hip

Unraveling the Common Causes of Bursitis in Hip

The inception of hip bursitis can be multifaceted, stemming from various influences and conditions. Delving into its root causes can offer clarity and aid in devising appropriate preventive and management strategies. Here are some common culprits:

  • Injury or Trauma: A direct blow or fall onto the hip can cause the bursae to become inflamed. Such incidents can instantly irritate the bursa, leading to the swift onset of symptoms.
  • Repetitive Stress or Overuse: Activities that put constant strain on the hip, like running, stair climbing, or even prolonged standing, can irritate the bursa over time. It’s a classic case of too much, too often.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or gout, can predispose individuals to develop bursitis. The inflammatory nature of these conditions can affect various joints, including the hip.
  • Incorrect Posture: Standing or walking with an abnormal gait, potentially due to other health issues like spinal arthritis or uneven leg lengths, can exert undue pressure on the bursae.
  • Bone Spurs or Calcium Deposits: Growth of bony overgrowths or calcium build-up in the hip area can lead to increased friction and irritation of the bursae.
  • Certain Activities and Professions: People engaged in activities that require extensive hip movement or pressure—like ballet dancers, manual laborers, or athletes—often have a higher risk of developing hip bursitis.

Understanding the causes is the first step to effective management. By identifying and, where possible, modifying or eliminating the causative factors, one can significantly reduce the risk and impact of hip bursitis.

Symptoms of Hip Bursitis

  • Localized Pain: Sharp or intense pain at the point of the hip, specifically on the outer thigh area.
  • Pain When Lying on the Affected Side: Discomfort that intensifies when putting pressure on the inflamed hip, such as when sleeping on it.
  • Tenderness to Touch: The outer hip area becomes sensitive, and pressing on it elicits pain.
  • Stiffness in the Hip: A feeling of tightness or reduced range of motion in the hip joint.
  • Pain that Worsens with Movement: Activities like climbing stairs, walking, or even standing after a prolonged sitting period can aggravate the pain.
  • Swelling or Warmth: In some cases, the affected area might exhibit noticeable swelling or feel warmer than the surrounding areas.
  • Increased Discomfort after Prolonged Inactivity: Pain that becomes pronounced after sitting for extended periods or upon getting up in the morning.
  • Radiating Pain: Occasionally, the pain might radiate down the thigh or even towards the groin area.

Recognizing these symptoms can be a vital cue for timely consultation and treatment, ensuring that hip bursitis doesn’t hamper one’s quality of life.

How Bursitis In The Hip Diagnosed?

How Bursitis In The Hip DiagnosedHip bursitis can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions, given the overlapping symptoms. Hence, accurate diagnosis is critical for targeted treatment. Here’s a glance at the typical diagnostic journey:

  • Physical Examination: This is the starting point. A physician will review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. By applying pressure to different areas of the hip and asking the patient to move in certain ways, the doctor can pinpoint the source of the pain.
  • Range of Motion Tests: These tests help identify any stiffness, pain, or discomfort experienced when moving the hip in various directions.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • X-rays: While they won’t show the inflamed bursa, X-rays can help rule out other potential causes of the pain, like fractures or arthritis.
    • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI provides detailed images of soft tissues and can display an inflamed bursa.
    • Ultrasound: This imaging test uses sound waves to produce pictures of the hip joint and can be instrumental in spotting inflammation in the bursa.
  • Blood Tests: These can help rule out other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or infections that might be causing the hip pain.
  • Aspiration: Rarely, if the diagnosis remains unclear, a clinician might use a needle to extract fluid from the bursa. Analyzing this fluid can help determine the cause of inflammation – whether it’s an infection, gout, or another condition.

While these diagnostic tools are efficient, it’s crucial to provide a clear account of the symptoms and any potential triggers (like recent activities or injuries) to assist the physician in making an accurate diagnosis.

Non-Invasive Treatments Available For Relief

Non-Invasive Treatments Available For Relief

Battling hip bursitis doesn’t always require invasive treatments or surgeries. Often, simple non-invasive measures can offer significant relief, especially in the initial stages. Here are some of the primary non-invasive treatments that many patients find effective:

Rest and Activity Modification

This is the first line of defense against aggravating hip bursitis. By giving the hip joint some time off from rigorous activities and making sure not to put undue pressure on it, inflammation can decrease, and healing can be promoted.

Ice Application

Applying ice to the affected area several times a day, especially after activities, can help reduce inflammation. Always wrap the ice in a cloth or use an ice pack to avoid direct contact with the skin, and limit each application to about 15-20 minutes.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation. However, it’s essential to use them as directed and ensure they don’t conflict with any other medications you might be taking.

Physical Therapy

Engaging in targeted exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles around the hip, offering more support and reducing stress on the bursa. A trained physical therapist can guide you through specific movements tailored to your condition.

Assistive Devices

For those who experience significant pain while walking, using a cane or crutches temporarily can help alleviate the pressure on the affected hip.


Wearing a compression wrap or bandage around the hip can provide support and might help reduce swelling.


Whenever possible, elevating the hip can help reduce swelling, especially in the initial stages after an injury or flare-up.

It’s important to note that while these treatments can offer relief, they should be seen as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. If the symptoms persist or worsen, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

Lifestyle and Preventive Measures

Ensuring that hip bursitis doesn’t become a recurring nightmare involves more than just treating it; it’s equally about adapting a lifestyle that keeps the hip joint healthy and resilient. Here are some effective lifestyle and preventive measures to incorporate into your daily routine:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Extra weight, especially around the midsection, can put undue stress on the hips. Keeping a healthy weight reduces this strain, lowering the risk of bursitis.
  • Regular Exercise: Strengthening the muscles around the hip provides better support and reduces the pressure on the bursa. Include exercises that target the hip abductors, flexors, and extensors. Incorporate low-impact activities like swimming or cycling to reduce joint strain.
  • Proper Footwear: Wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning, especially if you’re on your feet a lot. Consider using orthotic shoe inserts if you have foot or gait abnormalities.
  • Avoid Prolonged Repetitive Activities: If your job or hobby involves repetitive motions, especially those that exert pressure on the hip, take regular breaks. Change your activity or position frequently to avoid overstraining any one area.
  • Warm-Up Before Exercising: Always ensure you do a proper warm-up before engaging in strenuous activities. Stretching helps in increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of injuries that can lead to bursitis.
  • Mind Your Posture: Whether sitting, standing, or sleeping, maintaining a proper posture ensures an even distribution of weight, preventing undue pressure on the hip joint.
  • Use Padded Seats: If you spend long hours sitting, especially on hard surfaces, consider using a cushioned or padded seat to prevent direct pressure on the hip bursa.

By adopting these measures, not only can you reduce the chances of developing hip bursitis, but you can also promote overall joint health, ensuring mobility and comfort in your daily activities.


Hip bursitis can be a distressing condition, limiting your daily activities and affecting your quality of life. However, with the right knowledge and a proactive approach to treatment and prevention, you can successfully manage and mitigate its effects. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Professional assistance, particularly in the realm of physical therapy, can be invaluable in alleviating symptoms and preventing recurrence.

If you’re experiencing Hip pain, physical therapy for hip pain at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.