Hip bursitis is an all too common condition that we see on a pretty regular basis at our clinic. It’s a condition that affects upwards of 15 percent of women and 8 percent of men at some point in their life, and it can really restrict normal movement if left untreated. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why hip bursitis develops and how a physical therapist can help you treat the condition.
What Is Hip Bursitis And Why Does It Develop?
Hip bursitis is a condition that develops when one or both of the fluid-filled sacs known as bursae on the side of the hip become damaged or inflamed. These fluid-filled bursae help to lubricate and protect nearby soft tissues, and if a problem with the sac develops, muscles and tendons in the area no longer function optimally, and oftentimes this is accompanied by pain.
Bursae inflammation can be caused by a number of actions or related health conditions, but some of the most common underlying causes include:
- Repetitive motion
- Poor posture
- Trauma to the hip region
- Differences in leg length
- Previous hip surgery
- Bone spur formation
- Health conditions that can affect joint health, like arthritis or psoriasis
Hip bursitis oftentimes presents with pain on the outer side of the hip, pain in the area when gentle pressure is applied, or pain that worsens with activity or when lying on the affected hip. It can also affect your gait and lead you to walk with a limp.
Diagnosing And Treating Hip Bursitis
Hip bursitis can be diagnosed by your general practitioner or with the help of a physical therapist, and oftentimes it’s easier to head to a physical therapy clinic because PT is a typical course of treatment if bursitis is the diagnosis. During the medical evaluation, the physical therapist will ask about your symptoms and health history before asking you to complete a few physical exercises. These movement screens will help determine if hip function is being inhibited by bursitis, or if another condition could be the underlying cause. In most instances, a physical therapist can confirm a diagnosis of hip bursitis without imaging tests, but an x-ray may be ordered if there is uncertainty or to rule out other potential causes of pain.
If you are diagnosed with hip bursitis by your physical therapist, you are in the right place to receive treatment. In most instances, a comprehensive non-operative treatment regimen will be created to help calm symptoms and decrease bursae inflammation. Those techniques involve a combination of rest, icing, gentle stretching, movement exercises, targeted physical therapy and posture adjustments to help protect and strengthen the area. Depending on the extent of your bursitis, many patients see significant improvement in as little as 2-8 weeks. The goal of physical therapy will be to improve motion, flexibility and strength at the hip so that you can get back to walking and running without discomfort.
So if you have been battling hip pain and it hasn’t gone away on its own like you had hoped, connect with a physical therapist and see if bursitis is to blame. Whatever is causing your issue, we’re confident that we’ll be able to help you find a solution to your pain. For more information, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.