Bursa are fluid-filled sacs, located throughout the body, that help muscles and tendons glide over bones and ligaments. Inflammation of the bursa is called bursitis.
Hip bursitis is the most common cause of hip pain. It is an inflammation of the bursa between the femur and the iliotibial band located on the outside of the hip joint. Left untreated, hip bursitis can lead to pain and swelling on the point of the hip. Hip bursitis is more commonly found in women and the elderly. Inflammation of the bursa can occur as a result of tightness in the iliotibial band. Other causes of inflammation of the bursa can include hip injuries, impact on the area, running on surfaces that are slanted and friction on the bursa that occurs as a result of one leg being shorter than the other.
Typical symptoms of bursitis include pain and tenderness at the hip, swelling around the affected area, pain that is described as being sharp initially and more of an ache that is spread across a larger part of the hip later, and pain that radiates down the thigh. Stiffness in the hip joint may also be present. The pain may be more noticeable when lying on the affected side of the body, getting out bed, sitting for a long time, or as a result of daily physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs or squatting.
Treatment options for bursitis of the hip involves resting the hip and controlling inflammation of the bursa. Altering or reducing activity may cause the inflammation to decrease over time. Typical treatment options include rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to provide relief from pain and swelling, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and strength and stretching exercises. In some instances it may be necessary to remove fluid from the bursa. Surgery is rarely need in the treatment of bursitis; however, surgery may be necessary to remove the bursa from the hip if conservative treatment options fail.