Bursitis causes swelling of bursae, fluid-containing sacs that protect the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and reduce friction. Bursae cushion and aid in the smooth movement of these structures over the bones. Bursitis of the hip affects the function and is often painful.
The most common symptom of bursitis is hip pain, often described as searing or sharp. The pain generally lessens over time but does not go away entirely. Hip bursitis can cause pain in the outer hip and thigh (trochanteric bursitis) or the top of the buttock, depending upon the bursa involved. Pain in the groin area is more likely to be iliopsoas bursitis. As soon as the pain lessens, doctors may recommend gently exercising the hips to prevent the surrounding muscles from atrophying. People with chronic bursitis may require physical therapy.
Hip Tenderness and Radiating Pain
People with bursitis of the hip may feel tenderness on the affected side, which is often accompanied by radiating pain from the outer hip to surrounding areas. Lying down can exacerbate these sensations, especially when lying on the affected side.
Joint Pain and Tenderness
People with this condition may experience tenderness and pain in the joints that is especially noticeable as the condition progresses. For this symptom, doctors recommend avoiding prolonged standing,climbing stairs, and walking or running up or downhill. Gentle stretching and exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can help preserve function]. If the pain does not subside in time, corticosteroid injections or physical therapy may be required.
Swelling and Inflammation
The swelling and inflammation from bursitis of the hip may require non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain and swelling. More severe cases require draining or aspirating the bursa to remove some of the fluid.
Sensation of Warmth
People with bursitis of the hip may also experience warmth in the affected area that may or may not be accompanied by pain, tenderness, swelling, or inflammation. Ice packs on the affected area can soothe this symptom, and reduce inflammation as well. Never apply ice directly, however, as this can burn the skin. It is important to have warmth and redness around a joint evaluated since other conditions can cause these symptoms too.
Sharp Pain that Turns Dull
During the first few days of bursitis, a person may experience sharp pain. But as time goes by, the pain will decrease to a dull ache that may increase when rising from sitting or lying down. Sitting for a long period or lying on the affected side can also exacerbate the sensation.
The degree of pain from bursitis depends on severity. Acute bursitis pain may last for a few hours or days. Chronic bursitis usually causes longer-lasting pain, often persisting for weeks, and it may go away and return intermittently. Weight loss to reduce stress on the hips, wearing proper footwear, and stretching may help relieve the symptoms of chronic bursitis.
Pain after Certain Activities
Various activities may cause pain to increase or cause a flare-up of bursitis in people with a chronic condition. Doing nothing is one activity that can exacerbate the symptoms — sleeping in a problematic position or sitting or standing extensively often leads to pain. Some people may also experience pain after repetitive movements of the hip, such as jogging, climbing stairs, or walking. Pain medication, regular gentle (and prescribed) exercises, and physical therapy can help. Gentle stretching helps preserve mobility and reduce flare-ups of trochanteric and other types of bursitis. Avoid doing activities that worsen the pain.
Pain with Certain Motions
Moving the hips in an extreme range of motion can bring on bursitis symptoms, including hip abduction and adduction (crossing the legs or bringing the leg out to the side). Extensive rotation of the hips can have the same effect. Exercises recommended by a doctor can enable individuals with bursitis to stretch the muscles and tissues around the problematic joint without exacerbating the condition.
A symptom of severe bursitis of the hip is thickened bursa. If the condition remains unchecked over time, the bursa may thicken, worsening the swelling and inflammation. This eventually leads to atrophied muscles and limited range of motion. When bursitis is very severe, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove the bursa from the hip, although surgery is not usually required; most cases of bursitis will respond to more conservative therapy.