Treatment for hip bursitis

by Jerry Vance

Trochanteric bursitis is an injury that can occur regardless of your athletic ability. It is also an injury that requires time to heal. Because the injury occurs slowly with gradual worsening, it is often overlooked until the pain becomes severe enough to incapacitate.

A little information regarding bursas might be helpful if you suffer from such an injury. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs located around joints. The bursa that seems to be the most often inured is the hip or trochanteric bursa. It is located about four inches below your hip joint on the outside of your leg.

Bursa sacs produce synovial fluid, the protein rich fluid that lubricates joints and tendons to make them glide against one another without friction. When the hip bursa is inflamed or irritated, it produces extra synovial fluid and begins to expand. This expansion puts extra pressure on the bursa sac and begins a cycle that is hard to break.

The hip bursa provides friction-free fluid that propels your leg forward without pain. And, the muscles of the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus attach to the greater trochanter and lift your leg away from your body as well as stabilizing the pelvis into a level position while you run.

If you overdo your run, change shoes, running terrain or even the time of day that you run, you may find sore places on the outer edge of your hip that may gradually worsen until the pain begins to extend down the outer side of the thigh to the knee. To wait until the irritation to the hip bursa becomes severe enough to interfere with your workout means a much longer rehabilitation time. Notice the first signs of soreness and tenderness to the hip joint and consider the factors that caused it. Particularly watch for the uneven terrain syndrome. Hills and side hills put uneven pressure on one side of the body as well as uneven leg lengths.

Preventive treatment is by far the best treatment for hip bursitis. Never increase your mileage and your running speed at the same time. Stretching exercise before you run will loosen the illiotibial band, relieving the stress to the hip bursa sac. Strengthening exercises for the lower back and bottom muscles will keep your pelvis in line when you run. And don't forget those cool down stretches, particularly the slow hold lunge position. The old reliable RICE treatment can help if the injury is not too severe; however it is best to have your doctor diagnose the condition to be certain it is hip bursitis.

Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.


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