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Trochanteric Bursitis

The Rochester Regional Health Spine and Pain Center offers evaluation and treatment services for trochanteric bursitis, which is a common cause of leg pain and an inflammation of the bursa - a small, cushioning sac located where tendons pass over the areas of bone on the side of your hip.

Learn more about trochanteric pain, common symptoms, possible causes, and how our expert team evaluates and treats this condition below.

Causes of Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis may occur as a result of direct trauma and falls on the side of the hip - as experienced by ice skaters or dancers - as well as athletic overuse, or multiple traumatic impacts of a lesser severity. It may coexist in people who have osteoarthritis of the hips or lower back, as well as people who have scoliosis or unequal leg length. In many cases, the cause of the condition is unknown.

Trochanteric bursitis usually affects middle-aged or elderly people, and women more often than men. It can develop in younger people, as well. 

Common Symptoms of Trochanteric Bursitis

If the inflammatory process is ongoing, it may cause reactive tissue to form within the bursa. With repetitive stress, the bursae of the hip will become inflamed, and will be aggravated by any activity involving the surrounding muscles. Bursitis may develop gradually or dramatically, and symptoms may include: 

  • Pain occurring over the side of the hip that then travels down the thigh and may continue to the knee
  • Pain when sleeping on the affected hip
  • Pain when getting up from a chair or after sitting in a car
  • Pain when climbing stairs
  • Increased pain when walking or standing for long periods of time

Surgical scars, previous trauma, or prosthetic implants may provoke trochanteric bursitis. 

Diagnosing Trochanteric Bursitis

A careful evaluation of your medical history, as well as a physical examination of your hip and back will help your Spine Center provider determine if you have trochanteric bursitis. The examination will include a review of your medical history and your provider applying pressure to your greater trochanteric bursa area to test for tenderness or pain. 

Trochanteric Bursitis Treatment

Treatment is most conservative, and consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation. 

Weight loss may be recommended if you are overweight. Shoe lifts may be recommended for individuals with unequal leg length. If your trochanteric bursitis is recurrent, physical therapy exercises may be helpful.

Surgical treatment procedures are considered only in very rare, last resort cases. If surgery is needed, your surgeon will discuss this process in detail.

Your prognosis for recovery from trochanteric bursitis is very good - most people respond well to treatment. Successful long-term treatment may involve changes to your lifestyle, occupation, and activities. In addition, improving health through weight loss or exercise is usually an aspect of treatment. 

To learn more or to make an appointment, call (585) 723-7705.

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