Hip Bursitis Treatment And Prevention

Hip Bursitis Treatment, Symptoms, Causes And Exercises For Pain Relief

Have you ever experienced pain, swelling or tenderness in your hip area? It’s pretty common these day’s.

Chances are, you could be suffering from hip bursitis.  Hip Bursitis is a condition where the bursa in your hip becomes inflamed.

hip pain bursitus

Your bursae acts as a protective barrier that prevents your hip muscles, ligaments and tendons from rubbing into bone and the surrounding soft tissues.

Your bursa gets swollen, and as a result, cause pain and makes the area around it very tender to touch and feel.

What Are The Symptoms of Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis ranks among the most common reasons for hip pain.  Do a visual check-up of your hip and start feeling the affected area.

hip pain symptoms

Does it feel warm or tender?

Do you see significant swelling or feel pain whenever you try to exercise the hip joints?

Hip bursitis causes pain even in the most normal of activities, including going up the stairs, jogging, walking, running and even as you get out of bed in the morning.

You get very uncomfortable sleeping on the affected side or when you sit down for long periods.  Your pain levels shoot up the longer a hip bursitis remains untreated. (This isn’t what you want.)

Soon, you’ll feel significant tenderness when you press your hand in the affected area, which sometimes radiates down to the thigh section.

Hip bursitis can be diagnosed by a doctor as either an acute or a chronic condition. Acute bursitis usually lasts only for up to a few days, while chronic bursitis can unfortunately lasts up to a few weeks. This can really mess up your life routines a bit.

Also keep in mind that if you injure your hip after experiencing an acute bursitis the condition can become chronic.

The good news is that acute and chronic bursitis can be treated. But before that, you’ll need to know why this hip inflammation happens in the first place.

What Causes Bursitis of the Hip?

Bursitis has been labeled as non-infectious, only occurring whenever there’s an injury or a trauma that causes soft tissue damage or heavy strain.

Now, the swelling can come from either the ischial bursa or the trochanteric bursa, which are located adjacent to your pelvic bone and thighbone, respectively.  It’s worthy to note that trochanteric bursitis is the more common condition of the two.

You could experience tenderness and pain in both thigh and outer hip after a direct impact, i.e., when you fall down hip-first or when you do something over and over for a long period of time, i.e., running.

Here, the bursa gets swollen and inflamed.


You start noticing pain each time your tendons rub over the bursae.

Ischial bursitis happens when you sit for long periods of time and usually shows as a dull pain in the upper gluteal regions.

sore hips sitting down

There are also health conditions that can aggravate or cause hip bursitis:

– Spine problems such as scoliosis

– Diabetes

– Rheumatoid Arthritis

– Gout or pseudo gout

– Staph infection or any kind of bacterial infection

– Having uneven legs

– Bone spurs

Moreover, you can experience bursitis of the hip if you have weak hip abductors, when your feet are overpronated and when your gluteal muscles are too tight.

How Does Hip Bursitis Get Diagnosed?

A quick trip to the doctor should eliminate or confirm doubts about whether or not you have hip bursitis.  Like everything that pains us, it all starts with a clinical evaluation.

Your doctor will check specific pain areas where you’re feeling tender around the hip and try to dig up the history of your hip pain.

Feeling immediate relief after a local anesthetic injection is one indication that you do have hip bursitis.  Your health care professional can then proceed and order several more tests to eliminate other health conditions that could have similar symptoms.

For example, you may need an MRI or an X-ray to confirm that you’re suffering from a fracture, arthritis or having calcium buildup in the bursae area and not from a bone spur growth.

Rare cases of hip bursitis include calcinosis, gout or pseudogout caused by crystal deposits or buildups. There are also instances where bacteria may have infected the bursa (called septic bursitis).

The hip fluid may be extracted and sent to the lab in order to see what specific bacteria is causing the hip infection.

What Can I Do To Treat Hip Bursitis?

hip pain bursitis treatment

Treatment when it comes to bursitis of the hip involves the question of whether the bursa was infected with bacteria or not.

Treatment for non-infected hip bursa include ice packs, medication, performing hip bursitis exercises, and plenty of rest.

1. Rest Your Hips and Take Frequent Breaks to bring down the swelling you’ll need to rest your hip joints as much as you can.

Avoid doing strenuous activities that may worsen the inflammation and pain.  This means you shouldn’t be climbing stairs or walking uphill if you can avoid it.

Do not sleep on the affected side.

Tasks and activities that require repetitive motion are the worst enemies of hip bursitis!

Experiencing flare-ups?

That’s a signal that it’s time to rest.  Athletes should rest until they don’t feel the hip pain anymore. It’s easier said than done I know, but let common sense rule the moment.

It’s best to discontinue any physical training for the meantime until the condition is fully healed.

Remember, it’s better to treat the bursitis than to let it become worse or chronic. Do some mild exercises on flat, even ground to reduce the pressure.

Moreover, it’s of the utmost importance to consult with a sports injury professional.

2. Take Over The Counter Medication  NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work well in treating the symptoms of hip bursitis. Some of the best NSAIDs include Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve (naproxen) and Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen). (Please note, we are not medical professionals so please seek further advice from your own Family Doctor)

3. Get An Ice Pack

Apply ice packs on the affected area to bring down the swelling, the inflammation and subsequently, the pain. Get this treatment done for 10 minutes each hour when you first start feeling tender or pain in the hip area. Reduce ice pack treatment to around 3 or

4 times per week during the healing phase.  Use a reusable ice pack and remember, don’t directly apply ice to the skin as it can cause further injury. If you don’t have a pack handy you can put some ice cubes on a handkerchief or a towel before putting it on the affected area.

4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Our bursas get thicker over time, which makes the pain worse when inflammation sets in. You experience weakened muscles and limited movement, which makes it seem that physical activity should be the last thing you should be doing.

Exercise helps prevent your hip muscles from atrophy. More than that, exercise can help you lose weight, which in turn relieves some of the pressure on your joints, and yes, your hips.

Your doctor can set the right time for you to exercise, preferably when the pain has subsided.

Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do to prevent hip bursitis.

If you already have it, daily stretching minimizes the chances of a flare-up happening again while restoring full range of motion.

5. Sign Up For Physical Therapy

A comprehensive physical therapy program conducted by a qualified PT can lead you to the road of recovery faster than just exercise and medication. This type of treatment is especially helpful for individuals who are suffering from chronic hip bursitis.  A PT will know just what to do to balance out your muscles and align them to speed up recovery and the healing process.

6. Bursa Fluid Aspiration

In this treatment, a needle draws out excess bursae fluid under sterile conditions.

7. Cortisone Injections For Hip Bursitis Treatment

Steroid shots may be required to bring down the inflammation and pain. These shots are administered once and a few months afterwards.

Cortisone injections are used by doctors to eliminate inflammation in local and systemic areas in the body, i.e., in arthritis, tendonitis and inflammation of the shoulder, elbow, knee or hip.

8. Orthotic Insoles

If your hip bursitis is caused by an unhealthy rolling or overpronation of the foot, then your doctor may recommend orthotic insoles.

You can see a podiatrist or any other specialist who diagnoses foot mechanics for the best results. Or, you can get off-the-shelf insoles and buy the most comfortable one.

This device corrects your foot’s rolling motion, preventing the lower leg from turning inwards and aggravating the hip bursitis problem.

9. Surgery

Thankfully, surgery is not the first solution you should look for when you experience a painful hip. Your doctor may only prescribe surgical treatment if all other non-invasive methods have failed and if there’s long-term injury.

Infectious bursitis may be treated with aspiration, surgery and antibiotics.

Septic bursitis may require antibiotics and aspiration. The process involves the removal of the bursa from your hip and recovery time is quite fast. You’ll be up and doing your daily tasks in no time!

Is Exercise Safe? When Should I Do It?

To answer the question, your doctor knows best. Consult with a qualified physician before starting a hip bursitis exercise program or rehabilitation.  The right exercise can potentially relieve painful hip flexors and reduce inflammation.

Your doctor can recommend exercise as part of your painful hip flexors treatment.

Oh, and don’t forget to warm up your muscles before doing any of the exercises recommended below.

Hip Bursitis Stretching  Feeling those taut, tight hip muscles and want to loosen them up?

Here’s a good stretching exercise to start.

Target the hamstrings, the hip flexors, the gluteal muscles and the outer hip and stretch them out 5 times a day.

With each stretching activity, you should hold the pose for around half a minute and do it twice every time. The stretch should initiate a gentle pulling of the target muscle.

Don’t overextend or try to bounce as this can aggravate the swelling.

When you feel the target muscle relaxing before the 30 seconds is up, lean a bit more into it until you feel the gentle pressure.

Outer Hip Stretch

Need a hip flexor injury treatment?

This can very well do the trick. It’s easy, quick and can be done anywhere at any time.

Stand facing a table, a couch or a solid wall with your leg stretched out and crossed behind your other leg.

Put out a hand and use it to brace against the wall for balance.

Now push out your hips to the opposite side to your stretched out leg while keeping the knees straight.

Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then alternate for a few times.

Hamstring Stretch

If you’d look online there are plenty of exercises that stretch your hamstring muscles, but this exercise gets the nod because it’s relatively easy to do and there’s practically no wrong way of doing it.

Start out the stretch in a sitting position. Then, slowly lean forward into a gentle stretch and hold the position for 30 seconds.

You should feel a slight tug right in the hamstring area. You can make use of other hamstring exercises to stretch out different hamstring muscles.

Keep in mind that the simpler, the stretch, the better!

Hip Flexor Stretch

Here’s another way to do a hip flexor stretch that should relieve considerable pain.

Start out with a kneeling position on the ground. The other foot should be out in the front of you (with the knees still bent). Carry out the stretch by pushing your hips forward while maintaining a straight back.

Hold the position for 30 seconds, then alternate the leg’s position and do it again.

Stretching Your Glutes

When you need to stretch out your glutes in a hip bursitis treatment it’s usually the abductors or the hip muscles that need exercising.

The main stretch for this type of exercise should involve pulling away the leg in a sideways motion to work the glutes.

Feel free to use a resistance band and stretch out those gluteal muscles for faster recovery.

The band can be tied to a fixed point with one end of it around your foot. Then, motion your leg out and straight away until you feel a gentle pressure.

Hold this for 30 seconds, then alternate with the other foot.

How Long Before I Can Expect Relief From My Hip Bursitis Symptoms?

The sooner you can start with a conservative treatment, the better. Injectable medications or oral NSAIDs can quickly bring down the inflammation, which in turn allow you to start healing and eliminate symptoms within a week.

But remember to REST as it’s a vital part of the healing process!