Bursitis of the Hip Symptoms

Updated July 19, 2017

Trochanteric bursitis is an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that lies over the outer prominence of the greater trochanter, located at the outer aspect of the hip. Causes of hip bursitis can include direct trauma to the area, overuse and repetitive activities. Trochanteric bursitis can be chronic and difficult to cure if left untreated for too long.

Soreness in the early stages

Unless the bursitis has been caused by an identifiable incident of trauma, it frequently "creeps up" on a person rather slowly. The condition can begin as simply a mild, nondescript soreness around the outer aspect of the hip, occasionally aggravated by stooping and stair climbing.

Severe symptoms can be disabling

Trochanteric bursitis can progress into a severe and painfully disabling condition if left untreated for too long. Pain associated with the bursitis can be severe to the touch, and lying on the affected side can become impossible due to the level of discomfort.

Painful snapping can also be present

As inflammation and swelling of the bursa worsens, excessive pressure can be exerted on the bursa sac by a structure called the ilio-tibial band, which aids in the connection of muscles between the pelvis and the knee and lies directly over the trochanteric bursa. This increased pressure can cause a "snapping" or "grinding" sensation that can be felt when walking or climbing stairs.

Pain can be present even with positional changes

Chronic, severe trochanteric bursitis can be painful literally all the time and can make just about any positional changes truly unpleasant. Sleeping on the affected side becomes painfully impossible. Attempts at sitting for any length of time is also painful. Lifting, bending or rotation of the hip can be markedly restricted by the pain.

Bursitis can even cause a limp

Because of the pain that is present with severe trochanteric bursitis, walking can become a difficult and painful undertaking. During the activity of walking, pressures are exerted on the hip, and consequently the bursa sac, during the various phases of the walking activity. This, in turn, causes repeated friction against the bursa from the ilio-tibial band and the trochanter (outer prominence of the femur bone) itself, resulting in considerable pain and limping.

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About the Author

Ken Chisholm is a freelance writer who began writing in 2007 for LIVESTRONG.COM. He has experience in health care, surgery, nursing and orthopedics as an orthopedic physician assistant and a registered nurse. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Findlay, Ohio.