What Are the Treatments for Hip Bursitis?

What’s the best way to handle hip bursitis pain, tenderness, and swelling? Usually, you can treat this condition on your own at home. If your symptoms don’t get better, your doctor can give you stronger treatments.

Mild Bursitis Treatment

Simple treatments and changes to your routine may help. If pain and swelling flare, try these steps first:

Get some rest: Hip bursitis can follow certain activities or strike after you’ve done too much. If an exercise or chore seems to trigger your pain, skip it, or try something else.

Try medications: Start with over-the-counter (OTC) meds like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. They can ease pain and swelling. Talk to your doctor if you don’t feel better in a few days. NSAIDs can have side effects and may not always work well with other drugs. So you don’t want to take them for too long.

Cool it down. Ice can ease your swelling. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel, or use a bag of frozen veggies like peas or corn. Keep the ice pack on for about 20 minutes. You can do it several times a day.

Get support: Use a cane or crutches to help you walk.

If your hip gets better, the doctor may suggest some stretches or light exercises. These moves can help keep your muscles strong so your hip joint stays flexible. A physical therapist (PT) can also show you safe ways to do the exercises and teach you how to change your regular activities to ease your pain.

If It Doesn’t Get Better

See your doctor. One of these treatments may be your next step:

Joint aspiration: Your doctor can drain extra fluid out of your bursa with a needle. This will ease your swelling and pain. The place where the needle goes in might be sore for a few days afterward.

Steroid shot: The doctor can give you a steroid shot. These drugs ease inflammation quickly. Your pain and swelling should get better in a few days. If your bursitis sticks around or flares up again, you may need another shot a few months later.

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Surgery: It’s rare to treat hip bursitis with surgery. It’s a last resort if no other treatments work.

The doctor can remove the inflamed bursa sac. You should be able to get up and walk soon after surgery, and use crutches or a cane for a few days while you get better.

You may also be able to treat hip bursitis with arthroscopic surgery. The doctor makes small cuts, so your recovery time will be shorter and less painful than regular surgery.

You may not need an overnight hospital stay for either type of surgery. After recovery, you should be able to use your hip normally without the bursa.

Can You Prevent It?

You might be able to keep flares at bay if you:

Avoid overuse: If you know it’s going to make your hip hurt, don’t do it. If you have to, take breaks to rest your joint.

Warm up first: Ask your doctor or a physical therapist about stretches to loosen hip muscles. Exercises can also help you build muscle strength in your hips so they can support your joint.

Watch your weight: Extra pounds put pressure on your hip joints and can make pain worse.

Slip in inserts: Your doctor can tell you if one of your legs is longer than the other. If so, this may trigger your bursitis. An orthotic shoe insert can help you make up the difference.

Change things up. If you notice pain on your outer hip after you sit for a while, move. Try to turn your sore leg out toward the side of the chair.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on May 26, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Hip Bursitis.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Bursitis of the Hip.”

National Health Services: “Treating bursitis.”

University of North Carolina Sports Medicine and Family Medicine: “Trochanteric Bursitis.”

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