What is Trochanteric Bursitis?
Trochanteric bursitis (also known as greater trochanteric bursitis or GTB) refers to pain at the lateral and posterior aspect of the hip due to inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid filled sac. This pain usually ranges from mild to moderate, but it can become severe and debilitating at times. The bursa becomes irritated and inflamed as a result of injury to the neighboring muscles and tendons, or directly from being hit. The iliotibial band (IT band) runs over the trochanteric bursa and is often very tight in people who have trochanteric bursitis.
When the IT band is tight it rubs over the bursa and causes it to become inflamed. This commonly occurs in active people who run, spin, or lift weights and in football, soccer, cycling, and tennis. Another contributor to causing trochanteric bursitis is injury to the gluteus muscles as they attach to the bone right near this bursa. This is often an overuse injury caused by repetitive squatting and/or lunging. People usually notice a nagging pain on the side of their hip throughout the day or at nighttime in bed when they lay on their side. Typically, the pain is intermittent and only hurts when the area is touched or the muscle causing the issue is used.
How Can I Prevent Trochanteric Bursitis?
Trochanteric bursitis is a result of injury to the surrounding muscles and tendons, so to prevent it you must take care of yourself. Days of rest are crucial for recover and always important to prevent overuse injuries. It is recommended to have a least 2 days of rest per week depending on your exercise routine. Often injury occurs because the muscles and tendons are too tight. The only way to prevent this is to stretch! Remember that cold muscles shouldn't be stretched and you should always do a slight warm up before stretching. It's also important to stretch after exercise as muscles are repetitively contracting during exercise. The IT band can be difficult to stretch, so a foam roller may be used to help stretch out the IT band.
When Should I See My Doctor?
It's important to know when to go to the doctor versus treating something on your own. For minor pain, it's usually a good idea to start with rest and ice for treatment. If the pain resolves, then you can resume your activity slowly so you do not reinjure the same area. However, if the pain is moderate, reoccurs, or doesn’t improve with basic rest and ice, then it should be evaluated by your doctor. As always, prompt evaluation and management are the keys to a quick and successful recovery!