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Trochanteric Bursitis

Brief Outline of Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric Bursitis

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion to allow smooth movement between two rough surfaces. This commonly occurs between a bony prominence and a tendon or near the attachment of tendons. Trochanteric bursitis results when the bursa over the greater trochanter of the femur is irritated by repetitive stresses encountered during running activities.

Anatomy and physiology

The greater trochanter is the bony prominence on the upper portion of the femur to which some of the muscles the hip and thigh attach. The trochanteric bursa lies between the gluteus maximus and the posterolateral surface of the greater trochanter. There are several muscles that cross this region, and because they are generally rubbing across the bone, the bursa can easily become inflamed. Because the greater trochanter is near the surface it is also susceptible to impact injuries. Also caused if the iliotibial band movement is limited.

Cause of Trochanteric Bursitis

Repetitive hip activities such as running. Impact or other trauma to the bursa over the greater trochanter. Limited iliotibial band movement.

Signs and symptoms

Tenderness over the bony prominence of the upper thigh/hip. Swelling over the bursa. Pain when flexing or extending the hip, such as walking.

Complications if left unattended

If left unattended, this injury can cause chronic pain in the hip. The bursa may actually rupture with continued irritation to an already inflamed area.


  • Injection
  • Physiotherapy
  • Anti-inflammatories

Rehabilitation and prevention

Rest from the activities that aggravate the bursa is the first step in reducing pain and inflammation. After rest a gradual reintroduction is advised. Stop any activities that cause a recurrence of the pain. Creating a balance of strength and flexibility in all the muscles of the hip will prevent trochanteric bursitis. Warming up the muscles of the hip properly before activity is also an important step in preventing this injury.

Long-term prognosis

Bursitis generally does not cause any long-term disability when treatment and rehabilitation programs are followed. Surgery is only a concern in very extreme cases.

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