Bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac called a bursa, which acts to cushion and lubricate the areas between tendons and bones. Trochanteral bursitis is inflammation of the bursa located at the outside point of the hip bone known as the greater trochanter. This particular bursa separates the greater trochanter from the muscles and tendons of the thighs and buttock.
When this bursa becomes irritated or inflamed, it causes pain in the hip, which is often aggravated by lying on the outside of the hip or the affected area. The pain can also be caused by certain types of activity, such as attempting to stand up from a deep chair or getting out of a car, or while walking upstairs. Bursitis is more common in women and in middle-aged or elderly people.
Trochanteral bursitis can result from any number of events, including injury to the hip from a fall, bumping into something or lying on one side for extended periods of time. Certain repetitive activities can also cause or aggravate this pain, such as running up stairs, climbing or standing for long periods of time with the weight unevenly distributed on the hips.
Incorrect posture, from such things as scoliosis or arthritis, or other conditions as such as gout, psoriasis or thyroid disease, can also cause trochanteral bursitis. Previous surgery around the hip or hip replacements, bone spurs, calcium deposits, or in rare cases, infections, can also lead to bursitis. Unfortunately, in many instances, it can be quite difficult to identify the specific cause of bursitis.
Most cases of bursitis improve without any treatment over a few weeks, but you should see your health care provider if your pain interferes with your normal day-to-day activities or if you experience soreness that doesn’t improve despite self-care measures, such as rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen. The overall goal is to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as prevent disability and recurrence of the problem.
You should seek medical attention if you have recurring episodes of bursitis, or if you also have a fever or the area affected appears red, swollen or warm. Finally, you should seek medical attention if you have any other conditions that may increase your risk of an infection, or if you take medications that increase your risk of infection, such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants.
If at-home care fails to provide sufficient relief, your health care provider may suggest trochanteral bursa injections, which are injections of corticosteroids directly into the bursa. Steroids or corticosteroids are medications designed to mimic natural hormones produced by the body to reduce inflammation. An injection of corticosteroids works quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain in the hip.
Following the trochanteral bursa injection procedure, it is often helpful to ice the area, as the injection itself may cause some pain and swelling. Treatment with ice and analgesics will usually be sufficient to treat this pain.
Because most cases of bursitis are caused by overuse, the best treatment is prevention. It is important to avoid or modify the activities that cause the problem and to identify any underlying conditions – such as leg length differences, improper posture, or poor technique in sports or work – so that they can be corrected.
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