Causes and Symptoms of Trochanteric Bursitis: Treatment and Management

Trochanteric bursitis is rather common and may be seen in 60 % of those who complain of hip or leg pain. It is commoner in women and the middle-aged and elderly. Various large muscles, namely, the hamstrings, the quadriceps, gluteal muscles along with the ilio tibial band attach in to the hip joint.

On the outside of the joint there are small fluid-filled sacs called bursae; these cover the greater trochanter of the femur. They supply a cushioning effect in the spaces between the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments and help the tendons to move smoothly over the bony prominences without any rubbing.

Trochanteric Bursitis Causes

When the bursae excessively rub between the greater trochanter and the gluteus medius or the ilio-tibial tendons, trochanteric bursitis develops. Consequently, the bursa becomes swollen, inflamed and painful. Likely causes are:

  • Recurring strain, like, an abnormal pattern of walking or standing, poor pelvic stability or tight ilio-tibial band.
  • Trauma and contusions, due to contact sports or fall.
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Poor gait pattern. Poor trunk and pelvic stability
  • A medical condition such as, inter-vertebral disc degeneration
  • Leg length discrepancy

Trochanteric Bursitis Signs and Symptoms

  • The onset of clinical features is usually slow
  • Pain develops on the outer aspect of the hip, frequently aggravated by lying on the afflicted side
  • Pain radiates to the knee
  • Exacerbations with prolonged walking and / or sitting
  • Stiffness
  • Hip and leg movements very painful, with reduced range of motion

How to Treat Trochanteric Bursitis

The treatment-management plan concentrates on immediate and correct handling of the condition during an acute stage.

Prompt therapy assists in accelerating recovery, and also allows quick repair and reinforcement, to enable returning to daily activities / sport pain-free.

  1. Rest: is very vital in order to prevent the joint as well as the surrounding structures from becoming inflamed and sensitive; thus, avoid those activities and positions that worsen your symptoms.
  2. Ice: ice application provides relief from pain, and minimizes secondary soft tissue impairment.
  3. In extreme cases with severe pain and excessive inflammation; your health care provider will prescribe NSAIDs or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs which ease inflammation, swelling and pain rapidly.
  4. Massage: has a pivotal role to play in restoring normal muscle length of the tightened muscles, by enhancing the flow of blood to the affected part and releasing adhesions between the muscles too. An aromatherapy massage proffers excellent and quick benefits.
  5. Physiotherapy: is decidedly beneficial in improving the range of movement and easing stiffness of the hip joint. A series of graduated exercises as well as weight-bearing techniques will help strengthen and reinforce the muscles of the hip joint, allay pain and stiffness considerably and improve stability.
  6. Stretching: a good stretching program helps maximizes muscle length and is crucial for correct hip functioning.
  7. Home remedies too are of immense use. Incorporate ginger, garlic and turmeric in to your daily menu for about 3 months. These foods are powerful anti inflammatory agents. They help reduce inflammation without the adverse side effects of NSAIDs.
  8. When these above mentioned measures fail to provide complete resolution; your physician may recommend a dose of corticosteroids to manage the pain better. A series of cortisone injections may be given to bring about relief from the symptoms. Surgery is advised for only extreme cases.

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