This an overuse injury which is common in runners. “Bursitis” basically means inflammation of a bursa, which are sacs of fluid found between bones and overlying soft tissues. They can become inflamed from protecting soft tissue from repetitive friction. The Trochanteric bursa sits over a body lump known as the greater trochanter. It reduces friction from the Iliotibial band (ITB) and the bone.
Symptoms of trochanteric hip bursitis
Usually, you will experience pain in this area, on the outside of the hip. This is worse after activity such as running. The pain can last for a few days after activity, depending on the severity. Pain may travel down the outside of the thigh and into the gluteal area. Palpation can reveal tenderness in this area. Other than running, climbing stairs and laying on that side may cause a problem.
Overuse and repeated friction are the main concerns for this condition. Studies suggest that this can be a result of faulty biomechanics in the body. Other causes include falling onto this area due to impact e.g. Skiing.
Woman are at a higher risk for this injury due to having wider hips. In running, this can cause altered biomechanics causing woman to have a knock-kneed appearance known as hip adduction. As a result, woman need stronger abductors to balance this out. Weakness in this area can cause increased tension in the ITB. As noted earlier, this lies on top of the Trochanteric bursa. Increased pressure can add additional friction to the bursa, pre disposing bursitis.
Factors that can contribute to the development of this condition include; overpronation, leg length differences, uneven surface running and doing too much too soon.
Rest and ice is key to reduce the inflammation. Correcting the cause of the inflammation is also essential to prevent the pain returning. Seek medical advice from a specialist to determine this. Common advice given includes:
- Stretching and foam rollering the ITB
- Self soft tissue work on the gluteal area
- Hip abduction exercises
- Return to activity guidance
It is important that you are pain free before you try and return to activity. Strength improvements should also be seen in hip abduction exercises. Adequate rest periods should be given to not overload the injured area. If you feel any pain, stop and go back to the rehab phase!