Bursitis is a condition caused by inflammation of a bursa, a small jelly-like sac that usually contains a small amount of fluid. Bursae act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.

In the hip there are two important bursae that often experience inflammation:

  1. The bony point of the hip is called the greater trochanter. It is an attachment point for muscles that move the hip joint. The trochanter has a fairly large bursa overlying it that occasionally becomes irritated, resulting in hip bursitis (trochanteric bursitis).
  2. Another bursa located on the inside (groin side) of the hip is called the iliopsoas bursa. When this bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is also sometimes referred to as hip bursitis, but the pain is located in the groin area.


Symptoms of hip bursitis include:

  • Pain at the point of the hip which typically extends to the outside of the thigh. In the early stages, the pain is usually described as sharp and intense. Later, it may feel more achy and spread out.
  • Typically, the pain is worse at night, when lying on the affected hip, and when getting up from a chair after being seated for a while. It also may get worse with prolonged walking, stair climbing, or squatting. Swelling may be present over the bursa.

What to expect from therapy

Treatment and rehabilitation for hip bursitis is designed to relieve pain, increase flexibility of hip muscles and soft tissue to reduce friction, and restore strength. Your physical therapist may utilize modalities, such as ultrasound or iontophoresis, to decrease pain and inflammation. Manual therapy (hands on) techniques employed by a physical therapist can often provide relief of symptoms and promote realignment of tissues. Complete restoration of function will also include a comprehensive exercise program emphasizing flexibility, strength, and balance.

Learn more about how HealthReach therapists can help

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KidReach pediatric therapy specialists, Milwaukee, Brookfield, Hales Corners, Wisconsin