Hip Bursitis: The Basics

You put your left hip in, you put your left hip out… except when you have hip bursitis. Hip bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa at the outside point of the hip, called the greater trochanter. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When working correctly, they help these glide smoothly over the bone.

However, when they become swollen or irritated, the area surrounding them becomes painful and tender. The inflammation and irritation of this bursa causes pain in the hip. Bursitis can occur in areas other than the hip, such as the elbow, knee, and shoulder, as bursae are present throughout the whole body. But in most patients with bursitis, the hip is the area most effected.

Typically, there are two types of bursae in the hip that are most likely to become inflamed:

  • Greater trochanter: This bursa covers the bony point of the hip bone. Inflammation of the greater trochanter results in pain down the outside of the thigh and sometimes in the buttocks. This is the most common type of hip bursitis.
  • Iliopsoas bursa: This bursa is located on the inside of the hip. Inflammation of the iliopsoas bursa typically causes pain that’s localized in the groin area.


Hip bursitis has one main symptom: pain.

  • Pain on the outside of the hip and thigh or in the buttock
  • Pain when walking up stairs
  • Pain worsens when lying on affected side
  • Pain when pressing on the outside of the hip
  • Pain worsens when standing up from a chair or getting out of a car

This pain typically extends to the outside of the thigh area. In the early stages, many patients describe the pain as intense and sharp. As the condition continues, however, the pain becomes more of a widespread ache.

It’s not uncommon for patients to report that their pain is worse at night. Additionally, many experience pain when getting up from a chair after having been seated for an extended period of time.

If you experience the side effects listed below, it’s recommended that you see a doctor. These are more severe and may be indicative of another condition.

  • Pain is so intense that it greatly interferes with day-to-day life
  • You have a fever
  • The sore area becomes swollen, warm, or red
A woman being treated for hip bursitis


  • Overuse or injury of the joints: This is most frequently seen in those who run and bike, but can also be due to stair climbing or standing for long periods of time.
  • Hip injury: Most frequently, this pertains to a patient falling or bumping into a hard object. However, even lying on one side of the body for too long can cause injury.

 Risk Factors

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This can cause the bursa to be more vulnerable to inflammation.
  • Prior surgeries: Any surgeries that you may have had around the hip area can cause irritation to the bursa.
  • Gender and age: While hip bursitis can affect anyone, it’s most common in middle-aged and elderly women.
  • Spine disease: Most frequently, this pertains to scoliosis and other conditions that effect posture.
  • Obesity: When you’re overweight your hip joints are stressed with the excess weight they carry.
  • Uneven leg lengths: Those who have one leg that’s significantly shorter than the other often experience hip issues due to the way they walk.
  • Calcium deposits: These deposits can develop within the tendons, causing irritation and inflammation to the bursa.
  • Preexisting gout: Since gout is an inflammatory condition, it can put you at risk for developing hip bursitis.


When you visit your chiropractor for an evaluation, he or she will perform a physical examination, looking for tenderness around the point of the tip. Additional tests such as x-rays, MRI’s and bone scans may be utilized in order to rule out other conditions or injuries.

Several studies have proven how beneficial chiropractic care and adjustments can be for hip bursitis.

One particular study, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, evaluated the effectiveness of chiropractic care versus traditional medical care in patients with hip bursitis. The study assigned 229 hip bursitis patients one of three treatment methods: a single corticosteroid injection; low-energy shockwave treatment; or chiropractic-like care and light home exercises. Subjects were evaluated at the one month mark, the four month mark, and the 15 month mark to determine the degree of pain and recovery.

The study found just what researchers expected: the patients who were assigned chiropractic-like care achieved the best long-term results.

At the 15-month follow-up, 80 percent of the chiropractic care/home exercise group reported significant pain reductions, compared to only 48 percent of the corticosteroid injection group.


With the help of Dr. Moore and the staff at Moore Chiropractic Health Care Center of Austin, relief from hip bursitis is extremely likely. Chiropractic adjustments will help restore natural function of the hip joint. In comparison to traditional medical care, this is where chiropractic care has the advantage. Dr. Moore will work with you to stretch capsular joint restrictions, eventually enabling you to reestablish a full range of motion. Additionally, she will work to improve both strength and coordination in the hip muscles, which enables the femur to smoothly move in the socket, thereby reducing bursa irritation.

Treatment goals will be as follows:

  • Relive pain
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Repair underlying cause of your hip bursitis
  • Promote fast, natural healing
  • Prevent the condition from becoming aggravated
  • Re-align structural balance of the body
  • Restore full function of the central nervous system

Dr. Moore will most likely prescribe light exercises for you to do at home that will increase strength and flexibility in the hip. Massage, ice, and heat applications may be used as well. Between chiropractic treatment and some simple lifestyle changes, treatment has proven to be incredibly successful. Typically, it takes four to six weeks of chiropractic care before full function of the hip joints return.

Chiropractic care is the natural, holistic way to promote full-body health. When you choose chiropractic care over traditional medical care for your hip bursitis, you’re choosing a more efficient, long-term solution to your pain. If you’re suffering from hip bursitis in Austin, please contact us today at  (512) 459-5523 and get started on the path to natural healing.

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