Hip & Lower Back Pain – Trochanteric Bursitis

By Tomás Ryan MSc.,BSc.AHS, Ph.Th. MIAPT, Registered Physical Therapist based in Thurles & Clonmel

Article as Published in Tipperary Star Newspaper

In this week’s article, I will discuss a painful Hip condition called Trochanteric Bursitis that causes pain into the hip and lower back region. It can affect adults of all ages from young sportsmen to less active adults. The condition can occur gradually or occasionally can occur more rapidly in adults who have suffered a fall to the hip. The pain can be described as a deep aching pain that radiates into the hip joint, outside thigh and even into the knee region. Occasionally the pain may refer into the lower leg below the knee. This deep aching pain is at its worst whilst climbing a stairs, getting out of a car or whilst sleeping on the pain hip.

Trochanteric Bursitis occurs when the bursa that sits between the Greater Trochanter bone (see illustration) and its attaching muscles becomes inflamed. A bursa is a fluid filled sac whose purpose is to prevent friction between the muscles as they attach to the bone. However, when the hip muscles become tight due to overtraining, the muscles that attach to the Greater Trochanter bone exert greater levels of friction on the bursa causing it to become inflamed and sore. Trochanteric Bursitis can also occur due to a fall on the hip, bringing about bleeding in the bursa which can then lead to inflammation of the bursa.

Signs & Symptoms of Trchanteric Bursitis

  • Difficultly sleeping at night due to the pain

  • A snapping sound can be heard when moving the hip.

  • Walking, Running and standing can increase the pain

  • Feeling of weakness in the leg

  • One leg is slightly longer than the other

Treatment & Management of Trochanteric Bursitis

The goal of treatment for patients who attend my clinic with Trochanteric bursitis is to: a) Reduce the inflammation of the bursa and b) release the tightness in the attaching Hip muscles and c) correct any positional faults in the pelvis which can bring about a leg length difference. These treatment goals are achieved by firstly instructing the patient to use ice to massage to reduce the inflamed bursa. Secondly, myofascial muscle techniques are incorporated to release the tightness in the attaching hip muscles. The patient is duly given homecare exercises to stretch and strengthen these restricted hip muscles. Finally, mobilization techniques are used to correct any incorrect positional tilting of the pelvic.

Next week I will discuss further conditions that cause hip pain.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.

Contact Number: 086 3275 753

Email your queries to: info@tipp-phyiscaltherapy.ie

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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