A bursa is a fluid filled sac of tissue which exists between a portion of a bone near the joint and the overlaying skin and soft-tissues. The hip joint is surrounded by many bursa. The largest bursa around the hip joint occurs at the side of the femur around a bony prominence, called the greater trochanter, and is known as the trochanteric bursa.

Bursal sacs exist to prevent friction between the bone (which moves with hip motion) and the overlaying skin (which does not move with the hip range of motion). These bursal sacs are normally filled with a very small amount of fluid. If one of the bursal sacs get irritated either by an injury o excessive friction (from overlaying tissue), the bursa becomes inflamed and filled with more fluid. This can lead to significant pain and tenderness in the area of the bursa. Trochanteric bursitis is a condition in which the trochanteric bursa becomes inflamed.

Signs & Symptoms

Patients with trochanteric bursitis typically complain of the pain at the side of their hip. The pain is often worse at night, especially if they sleep on their side. Occasionally this pain will radiate down the outside of the thigh along he course of the illotibial band (IT band).


Treatment for trochanteric bursitis is usually non-operative in nature. Activity modifications, including sleeping with a pillow between the legs and avoiding sleeping n their affected side, are recommended to prevent irritation of the bursa. Stretching exercises to decrease tension in the IT band are also recommended to prevent continued irritation of the trochanteric bursa. Icing the outside of the hip and anti-inflammatory medications are useful to decrease pain and inflammation in the bursa. Finally, a cortisone injection into the inflamed bursa is frequently recommended to decrease the pain and inflammation in a rapid manner.

You may feel sore at the injection site for 2 -4 days. You may apply ice to the site for 15 minutes on and 20 minutes of to decrease pain and discomfort, if needed, for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, you may also heat if needed. Your pain may subside right away, or it may take a number of days. The first, a local anesthetic, will only work for a few hours. The second, a steroid, may not start working for 2 – 5 days.

  • Limit your activities for the first 24 hours to those that you can do without pain.
  • Keep taking your pain medicine as prescribed.