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Hip Bursitis


  • Hip bursitis is swelling and pain of a bursa in your hip. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion or shock absorber between a tendon and a bone. A tendon is a cord of tough tissue that connects muscles to bones. Normally a bursa has a small amount of fluid in it. When injured, the bursa becomes inflamed. There are different types of hip bursitis. The area and type of pain, aching, or stiffness you feel depends on the type of hip bursitis you have.
  • Your hip bursitis may be caused by constant pressure on your hips. This is often caused by standing or sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time. It may be caused by doing sports or activities that use repeated movements such as running or climbing stairs. It may be caused by walking or exercising incorrectly, or from an infection. With treatment, many people feel better in about six weeks.



  • Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. If you feel it is not helping, call your caregiver. Do not quit taking it unless your caregiver tells you to.
  • Keep track of what medicines you are taking and when and why you take them. Bring a list of your medicines or the medicine bottles when you see your caregivers. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicines.
  • Antibiotics: You may be given antibiotics to fight infection if needed. Take them as ordered until they are all gone, even if your hip begins to feel better.
  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
  • Steroid injection: If your caregiver gave you a steroid injection, follow your caregiver's instructions. Rest your hip for as long as you are told to, even if your hip feels better.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

How can I take care of my hip bursitis at home?

  • Rest: The most important part of treating bursitis is resting your hip while the bursa heals. Rest your hip as much as possible to decrease pain and swelling. Resting will also prevent the bursitis from getting worse. Avoid activities that make the pain worse, such as walking up stairs. Sitting on a cushioned chair or foam donut may help decrease the pain. When the pain decreases, begin normal, slow movements.
  • Ice: Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps decrease inflammation. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag or use a bag of frozen corn or peas. Cover it with a towel. Put this on your hip for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times each day. Apply ice for two to three days or as long as you have pain. Do not sleep on the ice pack because you can get frostbite.
  • Sitting and standing: Wear shoes that are padded and comfortable. Ask your caregiver about the best shoes to buy. Do not sit or stand for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces. Sit on padded surfaces such as cushioned chairs or a soft foam pad whenever possible.
  • Sleeping: You may be told to avoid sleeping on the side with bursitis. Sleep on your back or the side without bursitis. You may want to place pillows between your knees when you lie on your side.

How can I protect my hips and help prevent hip bursitis?

  • Keep pressure off your hips. Continue to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces. Continue to sit on padded surfaces such as cushioned chairs or a soft foam pad whenever possible. If possible, do not lie or sleep on the hip that had bursitis. Bend at the knees, not at the hips, when picking up objects from the ground.
  • Stretch, warm up and cool down. Always warm up your muscles and stretch gently before exercising. Do cool-down exercises and stretching when you are finished. This will loosen your muscles and decrease stress on your hips. Rest between exercise sessions.
  • Start exercising when caregivers say that it is OK. Exercise is important for stretching your muscles and keeping them strong. Start exercise slowly, such as bicycling, when caregivers say that it is OK. Do not begin running or other heavy exercise until you have no more pain, and your caregiver says it is OK.
  • Maintain a normal weight. Ask your caregiver what weight is right for you. Ask for information about eating a healthy diet to help you stay at the best weight for you.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes. Wear flat shoes that are cushioned and comfortable. Buy running or exercise shoes that fit your feet well. Talk to your caregiver or go to a special exercise footwear store to get well-fitting athletic shoes. Run or exercise on flat, even surfaces. Use orthotics if needed. Orthotics are shoe inserts that help line up your feet, knees, and hips correctly.
  • Use a shoe lift if one of your legs is shorter than the other. Ask your caregiver to help you decide which shoes lifts are best for you. Wearing a shoe lift may help you walk with less stress on your hip joint. Your caregiver may also ask you to use a cane.
  • Start treatment right away if you feel hip pain, aching and stiffness. Rest your hip, use ice treatments and take NSAIDs as directed by your caregiver.


  • Your pain increases.
  • You develop new, unexplained symptoms.
  • You have a fever.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hip Bursitis (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.