Hip pain can be draining and frustrating; making simple daily activities like walking and sitting painful and uncomfortable tasks. Luckily, one of the most common causes of hip pain can be effectively treated using fairly simple manual therapy techniques!
“Bursitis” is a common condition which refers to the painful inflammation of bursa in your body. Bursa are small, jelly-like, fluid-filled sacs positioned between bones and soft tissues to decrease the amount of friction between them.
Certain risk factors which contribute to the development of bursitis include:
- Direct hip injury. (falls/knocks- common in mountain biking)
- Repetitive stress injury. (Long distance running with tight hip muscles)
- Abnormal biomechanics of the spine, hips, knees or feet.
- Bone spurs or calcium deposits.
- Previous surgery
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Idiopathic (we don’t really know!)
The hip joint is the most stable joint in the body, and is essential for locomotion! Many muscles, ligaments and tendons make up this complex joint, and as such, there are 18 bursa throughout the hip joint to help ensure smooth movement. Three of these bursa are particularly prone to bursitis.
The most commonly affected hip bursa lies at the outside of your hip, and is called “Trochanteric Bursitis” when it is inflamed. This nasty bursitis causes a sharp painful sensation on the outside of the hip which may run down the outer thigh. Often this pain feels worse when lying on your side at night, taking long walks, climbing stairs and getting up after sitting for a long time. After a while, the pain may start to feel less sharp and become more of an achy, burning pain.
Another bursa inclined to inflammation lies on the inside of your hip in your groin area. The pain is also usually sharp, gradually becoming more of an ache, however it is felt in the groin and sometimes runs down the front and inside of the thigh.
Finally, the least commonly affected bursa of the three is positioned over the sit bones. As you can imagine, inflammation here leads to pain in your buttock which is aggravated by sitting, especially on hard surfaces.
Generally, diagnosis of bursitis is quite straight forward and can be made without any special tests, simply using a variety of manual examination techniques.
Once it has been correctly diagnosed, treatment is focused on decreasing inflammation and restoring normal healthy movement.
Bursitis can usually be treated effectively with specific stretches, strengthening exercises, activity modification and icing. In some cases, however, corticosteroid injection onto the bursa may be required to effectively control the inflammation.
Hip bursitis is not a condition that will easily resolve on its own, and if left for too long can become a chronic problem which becomes difficult to treat. The best chance of a speedy recovery is to treat it early and get back to regular activity as soon as possible.
Always remember to listen to your body. If you have new pain that isn’t going away, or is interrupting your ability to do regular activities, it is a good idea to see a professional who will be able to assess you and help determine the origin of your pain.
Let’s battle bursitis together and take the pain back out of movement!
Move Well. Live Well.