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Hip Bursitis


What is hip bursitis?

Hip bursitis is inflammation of the bursa in your hip. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and a tendon. A tendon is a cord of strong tissue that connects muscles to bones.

What causes hip bursitis?

  • An injury, such as a fall
  • Bacterial infection
  • Constant pressure on your hips, such as when you stand or sit on hard surfaces for long periods of time
  • Overuse of your hips, such as when you run, climb stairs, or ride a bike
  • Medical conditions, such as scoliosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout
  • Past surgeries, such as hip joint replacement

What are the signs and symptoms of hip bursitis?

  • Pain on the side of your hip or at the base of your hips when you sit down
  • Decreased movement or stiffness of your hip
  • Crunching or popping when you move your hip
  • Redness or swelling of the skin on your hip

How is hip bursitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your hip and ask about your injury or activities. You may need any of the following:

  • Blood tests: Your blood is tested for signs of infection. Healthcare providers may also check for diseases that may be causing your bursitis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • X-rays: These pictures will show bone position problems, arthritis, or a fracture.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your hip. An MRI may show tissue damage or arthritis. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Fluid culture: Healthcare providers use a needle to drain fluid from your bursa. The fluid will be sent to a lab and tested for infection. Removal of bursa fluid may also help relieve your symptoms.

How is hip bursitis treated?

  • Medicine:
    • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
    • Antibiotics: These help fight an infection caused by bacteria. You may need antibiotics if your bursitis is caused by infection.
    • Steroid injection: This shot will help decrease pain and swelling.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery to remove your bursa or part of your hip bone. Surgery is only done when other treatments do not work.

What are the risks of hip bursitis?

The infection may spread to nearby joints. You may develop long-term bursitis. This may include pain and severe limitation of movement.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Rest: Rest your hip as much as possible to decrease pain and swelling. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your hip for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day, as directed.
  • Sleep position: Do not lie on your injured hip. You may be more comfortable if you sleep on your stomach or back.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

How can I prevent hip bursitis?

  • Stretch, warm up, and cool down: Always stretch and do warmup and cool-down exercises before and after you exercise. This will help loosen your muscles and decrease stress on your hips. Rest between workouts.
  • Wear proper shoes: Wear shoes that fit properly and support your feet. You may need to wear shoe inserts called orthotics. Orthotics help position your foot correctly as you walk or exercise.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Keep pressure off your hips: Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. Sit on padded surfaces, such as a cushion or pad, whenever possible. Bend your knees when you pick up objects from the ground.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your pain and swelling increase.
  • Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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