Trochanteric Bursitis

A bursa is a thin sac of fluid that creates a gliding surface for skin or tendons as they glide over or under bony prominences in the body. There are several bursas around the hip, but the largest is the trochanteric bursa, which overlies the bony prominence on the outside of the hip. This bursa can become inflamed, causing hip pain with simple movements.

Trochanteric bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa over the greater trochanter, may be caused by a forceful impact to the side of the hip or from altered hip mechanis. There are several great treatment options available that can help alleviate the inflammation in the bursa and restore function. This condition usually resolves with formal physical therapy aimed at strengthening core and hip muscles, as well as anti-inflammatory pain medication. Occasionally, steroid injections into the bursa are used when patients fail to respond to more conservative treatments.

  • Symptoms

  • Treatment


  • Deep ache over the lateral hip that is worse with activity or pressure on the side of the hip
  • Persistent hip pain when raising the leg out to the side or across the body
  • Limited range of motion due to pain
  • Strength is preserved

Frequently Asked


How do I know if I have trochanteric bursitis?

Trochanteric bursitis can be diagnosed clinically with a detailed history and a thorough physical exam. If patients demonstrate weakness, an MRI will be ordered to ensure no other soft tissue structures have been injured. An MRI evaluates soft tissue structures such as the abductor tendons and can show fluid in the trochanteric bursa.

How do I know if I need surgery or can just manage with conservative treatment?

Typically, trochanteric bursitis is managed conservatively. Most patients improve without needing surgery. If patients continue to have pain and limitations despite physical therapy, steroid injection, and anti-inflammatories, surgery to remove the inflamed bursa can be considered.

What are the risks associated with not treating my trochanteric bursitis?

The most common risks are stiffness, persistent pain, and weakness. Patients with trochanteric bursitis commonly use their painful leg less, which can lead to weakness in the hip as well as increased tension in the muscles around the hip.