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Trochanteric bursitis is a common condition that results in hip pain to the outside of your hip. Between our hip joint and the soft tissues lies a small, fluid filled sac called a iliopsoas bursa.
These bursa sacs are there to help reduce friction between the joint and surrounding hip muscles during movement.
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However, sometime this hip bursa can become inflamed, and this is what’s known as greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Inflammation of the bursa is usually diagnosed by a medical professional such as a physical therapist.
What Causes Trochanteric Bursitis
There can be a number of reasons why someone may be suffering from this condition, below are some of the most common causes of hip bursitis.
- Repetitive Movements – This could be something such as running which increases friction of the joint leading to swelling.
- Trauma – A direct injury to the area, perhaps a fall or knock resulting in inflammation.
- Age Related – As we age our joints wear with tendons becoming weaker making them more prone to injury.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – An inflammatory condition which is more common in people over the age of 60 but can also be down to genetics.
- Septic Bursitis – A painful joint infection causing inflammation, joint stiffness and swelling
Depending on the severity and cause, treatment of this condition can range from applying ice packs, a course of physical therapy or corticosteroid injections.
But there are also some effective exercises you can perform at home to help provide some pain relief.
Trochanteric Bursitis Exercises
Below, we recommend some hip bursitis exercises which you can incorporate alongside any other treatment plan. Each exercise is designed to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve flexibility.
Before committing to a new exercise program, it’s a good idea to seek the advice from your health care provider or an orthopaedic specialist so they can factor in any other medical conditions.
IT Band Stretch
The iliotibial band runs down the length of your outer leg from the hip joint to just below the knee joint. If this band of tissue becomes tight it can exacerbate hip bursitis pain.
Here’s how to perform an IT band stretch to loosen up those muscles.
- Begin by standing side on next to a wall.
- Place your hand on the wall for support.
- Now take your foot nearest to the wall and take it behind the opposite foot and place it on the ground.
- From here, slowly start to push your hip towards the wall whilst keeping your legs as straight as possible.
- You should feel a gentle stretch down the outside of your leg and to your hip flexors.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times before switching to stretch out the other side.
Straight Leg Raise
The straight leg raise, sometimes abbreviated to the SLR, is a strengthening exercise that will target the hip flexors and quads.
You’ll need a closed loop resistance band or glute band for this exercise.
- Start by lying on the ground, ideally on an exercise mat.
- Position your band around your ankles.
- Keep your arms down by your sides and legs outstretched with feet together.
- Now, slowly raise your right leg off the ground and keep it straight.
- Go as high as you can before slowly, and with control, lowering back down to the starting position.
- Repeat 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.
Whilst this is a great exercise for activating your core muscles, especially your side abs, it’s also one of the best exercises for improving strength to your hip muscles.
This is because your flexors, hip adductors and abductors work together to help you hold the position.
- Lie on the floor and position yourself on your side, one leg should be stacked on top of the other.
- Raise your upper body and rest on your forearm. Be sure that your forearm is directly beneath your shoulder.
- Position your other arm across your chest or on your hip, this will help you to balance.
- From here, raise your hips away from the ground so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your ankle.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and perform 3 times. Then switch to work the other side.
The clamshell is an effective movement for helping to reduce lower back pain. However, it also works to strengthen your medial glutes.
This in turn provides more stability and increases range of motion to the hip joints.
- Lie down on your side and rest your head on something like a rolled-up towel. One leg should be on top of the other.
- Bend at the hips and knees so that your feet line up with the rest of your body.
- Slowly begin to raise up your top knee whilst keeping your feet together.
- Don’t go too high as this will make your hip start to rotate outwards which you want to avoid.
- Complete 10 reps for 2 sets and then switch sides.
The fire hydrant exercise will activate both your glutes and core but it’s also a great exercise for improving strength and mobility to the hips.
If you want to make this exercise a little more challenging, you could position a resistance band around ankles or wear a pair of ankle weights.
- Begin by positioning yourself on your hands and knees.
- Ensure your hands are under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Brace your core muscles.
- Rotate your hip so that you start to raise one leg out and away from your body keeping your knee bent as you go.
- Aim to get your leg to around 45 degrees.
- Complete 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions before switching to the other leg.
This is a good way to end your workout by stretching out the glute and hip muscles helping to prevent any muscle soreness.
- Start by lying on the floor, arms down by your sides and knees bent.
- Take your left foot and cross it over your right leg so that your ankle rests just below the bent knee.
- Your legs should be forming the figure 4 on its side.
- Take both hands and grab hold of your right leg, interlock your fingers.
- Slowly pull your leg towards you until you feel a stretch to your glutes and hips.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Swap sides and stretch out the other leg.
So, to sum up, trochanteric bursitis can be a debilitating condition which can sometimes result in pain and mobility issues.
However, by setting aside some time in your day to perform the above suggested exercises, improvements can be made helping to reduce symptoms associated with this condition.
By focusing on strengthening the surrounding muscles to the hips, this can help to improve flexibility and correct any imbalances resulting in improved function and less pain.
It is important to remember that consistency and patience are key when it comes to performing these exercises. Starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity will help to prevent injury.
Consulting with a healthcare professional or physical therapist is highly recommended to receive personalized guidance and to tailor an exercise program to individual needs.
Remember, this article serves to act as a guide, and, depending on the severity of hip bursitis, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before you commit to a new exercise plan.