Hip Bursitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

What is Hip Bursitis?

Hip Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa that results in swelling, pain, and tenderness at the bursa. A bursa is a small jelly-like sac that acts as a cushion between the bone and the overlying soft tissues to reduce friction between them.

There are two major bursae of the hip:

  • Trochanteric bursa

    The trochanteric bursa is located on the outside of the hip between the greater trochanter of the femur (leg bone) and the gluteal muscles. Inflammation of trochanteric bursa is called trochanteric bursitis. It is a common cause of hip pain.

  • Ischial bursa

    The ischial (ischiogluteal) bursa is located between the hamstring muscle and the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis in the buttock area. Ischial bursitis is a rare bursitis of the buttock region.

The other two bursae of the hip are:

  • Iliopsoas bursa

    The iliopsoas bursa is located in the groin area between the large psoas muscle and femur bone. Inflammation of iliopsoas bursa is called iliopsoas bursitis.

  • Gluteal medius bursa

    The gluteal medius bursa is located between the gluteus medius muscle and the greater trochanter. It is near the trochanteric bursa. Inflammation in the tendons of the gluteus medius muscle is called gluteus medius tendinopathy.

What are the symptoms of Hip Bursitis?

Symptoms of hip (trochanteric) bursitis include:

  1. Pain or ache:
    • When moving
    • When sleeping on the affected hip
    • When sitting on a hard surface for a long time
    • When getting up after being seated
    • Which extends over the outside of the thigh and may radiate down the outside of the thigh
  2. Swelling at the bursa
  3. Tenderness at the bursa

The symptoms may be aggravated with stair climbing, prolonged walking or squatting.

What causes Hip Bursitis?

Causes of hip bursitis include:

  • Repetitive stress (overuse) injury: This can occur when climbing up the stairs, cycling, running or after standing for a prolonged period of time.
  • Bone spurs or calcium deposits: These develop within the tendons that attach to the trochanter (the bony outgrowth at the upper end of the thigh bone).
  • Hip injury: From falling onto your hip, bumping your hip on the edge of a piece of furniture or lying on one side of your body for a longer time.
  • Leg-length inequality: A condition whereby one leg is shorter than the other leg by more than 1 inch
  • Spine disease: Such as lumbar arthritis (in the lower spine) or scoliosis (curved spine).

How is Hip Bursitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made based on various investigations. Your doctor will first evaluate your medical history and symptoms before conducting a physical examination.

Imaging test such as an X-ray may be ordered so your doctor can rule out other causes of hip pain. Ultrasound or MRI might be used as well.

Blood tests or an analysis of fluid from the inflamed bursa may be done to determine the cause of joint inflammation and pain.

How is Hip Bursitis treated?

Treatment depends on the specific location of the bursa, but the aim is to rest the bursa, decrease inflammation, and allow time for recovery.

Non-surgical treatment

  • Avoid pressure at the affected joint.
  • Avoid activities that require climbing.
  • Physiotherapy to increase range of motion.


Medications such as painkillers or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Steroid injection

If you are not responding well to the treatments above, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.


Aspiration of bursa fluid to relieve pressure.


If the bursitis is persistent despite treatment, surgical excision of the bursa is possible.

Book an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

Early detection of Hip Bursitis makes it easier to treat the condition with effective and appropriate treatment. A dedicated and expert team of Orthopaedic specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have concerns or questions regarding Hip Bursitis. We assure you the best possible care tailored to your specific needs.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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