Key Points about Hip Bursitis

  • Hip bursitis is when the bursa near the hip joint becomes inflamed or irritated and is a common reason for hip pain. Hip bursitis is often caused by an injury to the hip, bad posture, or overuse from work activities.
  • The most common symptom for hip bursitis is hip pain felt on the outside of the hip or in the buttocks. When pressure is applied to the area, pain can result.
  • The goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms. Typically, non-surgical treatments are effective. In rare cases, surgery is required.
Common related conditions
Hip Arthritis Hip Dislocation Hip Fractures Hip Tendonitis


Hip bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) near the greater trochanter (part of the hip) becomes inflamed or irritated, causing hip pain. The purpose of the bursa is to cushion the area between bones, tendons, muscles, and skin to relieve pressure points.

When the bursa on the groin side of the hip becomes inflamed, the pain is localized near the groin but is called hip bursitis.

Acute bursitis can flare for as long as a few days but can subside in a few hours. Chronic bursitis can last as long as a few weeks.

Hip bursitis causes

Hip bursitis develops from multiple reasons, including:

  • Injury to the outer point on hip: This could be caused by something as simple as falling, bumping your hip, or lying on one side for a long time.
  • Overusing the common areas: These activities could be running upstairs, standing for an extended period, or climbing.
  • Bad posture: Can be caused by scoliosis or arthritis.
  • Stress to the soft tissues: Stress caused by an abnormal joint or bone position.
  • Previous surgery: Prosthetic implants in the hip.
  • Bone spurs or calcium deposits: Can be found on the tendons in the hip that attach to the trochanter.

Other causes of bursitis include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Uneven leg lengths

Hip bursitis symptoms

The most common symptoms of bursitis of the hip are joint pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area. Typically, pain is most severe in the first few days and then become dull or achy.

Other hip bursitis symptoms include:

  • Pain walking upstairs
  • Pain from pressing in or outside the hip
  • Pain from getting out of a deep chair or car
  • Pain on the outside of the hip or in the buttocks

Swelling can worsen if the bursa thickens over time. If this occurs, you may experience limited movement and muscle atrophy.

Hip bursitis complications

If left untreated, chronic hip bursitis can lead to a permanent loss of hip movement as a result of calcium deposit build-up in the soft tissues.

Hip bursitis risk factors

  • Arthritis: patients with arthritis are more likely to develop hip bursitis.
  • Repetitive stress (overuse) injury: Repetitive stress from activities like running, bicycling, or standing for extended amounts of time.
  • Hip Injury: Injuring the point of the hip from falling or bumping into something.
  • Spine disease: Scoliosis, arthritis of the lower spine, and other spine problems.
  • Leg-length differences: When one leg is shorter than the other leg.

Hip bursitis prevention

Hip bursitis can be prevented by taking care of your hips, but other ways to reduce your chances of developing hip bursitis include:

  • Avoiding activities that put excess strain on your hips.
  • Exercising the right way and educating yourself on proper techniques and stretching before and after exercising.
  • Having one leg shorter than the other increases your chances of developing hip bursitis, so wearing orthotics or insoles may help.
  • If you are overweight, losing weight will relieve pressure and stress on your hips.
  • Strengthen your hips.

Hip bursitis diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose hip bursitis during a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will take a full medical history and order diagnostic tests such as an X-ray or MRI.

Hip bursitis treatment

The primary goal of hip bursitis treatment is to help relieve the symptoms while you heal.

Nonsurgical treatments for hip bursitis include:

  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Exercising to help build strength and improve mobility
  • Orthotics
  • Splint/Brace
  • Physical Therapy and rehabilitation
  • Steroid injections to relieve pain and swelling
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection
  • Tendon transfer
  • Ultrasound-guided nerve hydro dissection
  • Ultrasound-guided percutaneous needle tenotomy (PNT)

While surgery is not typically used to treat hip bursitis, if nonsurgical treatment options are not effective, the bursa can be removed.

When should I seek care?

If you are experiencing hip pain or other symptoms related to hip bursitis, contact your doctor to make an appointment.

Next Steps

Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your case. If your case is mild, your doctor may recommend rest and prescribe anti-inflammatory medications.

If you participate in activities that put stress on your hip, make sure to take precautions like stretching or educating yourself on proper activity techniques to minimize your risk of developing hip bursitis. If you are overweight, losing weight will relieve stress on your hips.

Follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribes and schedule an appointment if your symptoms change or worsen.

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