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A Very Common Cause of Hip Pain

St Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists


Have you ever fallen on your hip and had tenderness and pain along the outside of your hip joint? If so, you might have had something called ‘trochanteric bursitis’. In most cases we just bruise the area and the pain goes away. In other cases the pain persists for months or even years. As you can imagine the outside of your hip is an area that gets shoved against walls, hit against chairs, and slept on in awkward positions quite frequently. All of these reasons make it a prime target for pain.

That area along the outside of your hip has something called the ‘trochanteric bursa’. It can be thought of as a fluid filled sac with a smooth exterior. It helps certain parts of your muscles, called tendons, slide easily along the bone. This movement between muscle and bone happens whenever you move a joint. You see, bones have many rigid terrains making it difficult for tendons to slide over; it is the job of the trochanteric bursa to provide cushioning for tendons so they may run smoothly along this region of your leg.

Given that the trochanteric bursa is in an area predisposed to being injured, it becomes a frequent source of pain. People most often notice the discomfort when lying on their hip especially while sleeping. The pain is often times made worse with walking, going up stairs, or just even pressing on the area. This pain is usually from inflammation and can persist indefinitely. When the swelling builds up, it is called a ‘trochanteric bursitis; meaning inflammation of the bursa.

Fortunately for people that experience this issue the pain can usually be resolved with a steroid injection. Some people may require physical therapy or even a repeat injection but seldom does it persist after this.

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