Hip bursitis is an irritating condition that can range from slightly bothersome to very painful. If you feel pain in your hip when you are lying in bed at night, or immediately when you stand up after sitting for a while, you might have hip bursitis. So what exactly is hip bursitis and is there anything that can be done at home to help relieve the pain? Let’s explore this condition and look at the best exercises to treat hip bursitis so you can start feeling better soon.
What Is Hip Bursitis?
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa sac. A bursa sac is a small, gel-like pillow that sits between your bones and their connective tissues, acting as sort of shock absorber. You have bursa sacs in your hips, shoulders, elbows, knees and heels. The bursa can become injured through a fall or strained by repetitive use. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons there are two major bursae in the hip that can become injured or inflamed. The more common condition of the two, Trochanteric Bursitis, is inflammation to the bursa covering the greater trochanter, which sits at the bony point of the hip bone. The other bursa located on the inside of the hip near the groin is called the iliopsoas bursa. When this area becomes inflamed or injured it is often called “hip bursitis.” Both are treated in a similar way.
Symptoms Of Hip Bursitis
The symptoms of hip bursitis vary from person to person, but the most common are:
- Hip Pain that is sharp at first and then becomes aching over time
- Hip tenderness which seems more generalized in the entire hip area
- Pain that gets worse after prolonged or repetitive activity
- Leg pain that extends from the hip down the side or back of the leg
- Pain or discomfort when climbing stairs, running or cycling.
Important note: if you have warmth and redness in the area along with fever or illness, you could have septic bursitis which comes from infection. Be sure to see your doctor!
What Causes Hip Bursitis?
There are a number of things that can cause hip bursitis, from a direct fall on your hip to running too many miles. Let’s take a look at some of those things that put you at risk.
- Hip Injury: A traumatic injury or fall on the hip can cause hip bursitis.
- Repetitive Motion: You are at risk for hip bursitis if you do too much running, standing, bicycling or stair climbing.
- Leg-Length Inequality: Believe it or not, a surprising number of people have one leg that is slightly shorter than another (1.5 cm or more). This can affect your gait, causing issues similar to the repetitive use problem resulting in bursitis.
- Arthritis: Hip bursitis can come from arthritis. The same inflammation that comes with arthritis can extend into the hip bursa.
- Spine Diseases: Conditions like scoliosis can cause problems with the movement pattern of your hip and play a role in hip bursitis.
- Prior Surgery: Like spine diseases, prior surgeries such as implants or hip replacements can throw off your gait and movement patterns creating inflammation.
How To Treat Hip Bursitis
So what happens if you notice the symptoms of hip bursitis? How invasive is the treatment? First and foremost it is always important to see a doctor in order to diagnose any condition and know the specifics needed to help fix your particular problem. However, if the symptoms are new and you want to try easing them on your own, the first thing to do is going to sound familiar:
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate
You’ve probably been told to do this for an ankle sprain or a bruise on your shin. Bursitis is the same, although compession may not be possible and elevating might also be difficult. But it is very important to rest the injured area until you don’t have pain. In other words, if running too many miles is the cause of your issue, continuing to run will only aggravate your condition. In addition, ice the affected area a few times a day to help relieve inflammation and take anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen. In addition, once you return to activity you may need to modify what you were doing. For instance, run on a flat, even surface for a while.
Best Exercises For Hip Bursitis
It is always important to see a doctor in order to diagnose any condition and know the details needed to help fix your particular problem. However, there are specific hip exercises that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip as well as awesome stretches that can open up all areas of the hip known be overly tight and painful. Here is a list of some of our favorites. Many of these moves require no equipment, while a few of them require a resistance band to do the trick. For each exercise, click on the name of the move to see a photo and get directions for movement.