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The bursa is a thin pouch filled with fluid that serves to lessen friction between bones and muscles. Bursae become inflamed when infected, and this can be very painful. Doctors call this illness bursitis. It may strike any of the joints, but it most commonly affects the joints at the hip, elbow, knee, and heel. Bursitis of the hip may affect the bursa on the outer part of the hipbone (known as the greater trochanter), or the bursa close to the groin (this is called the iliopsoas bursa). Since the condition is more likely to occur on the hipbone bursa, you sometimes find that it is labeled trochanteric bursitis.

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Severe pain on the outside of the hip

This most characteristic bursitis of the hip indicator is a very sharp pain in the furthermost extremity of the hip and the outside of the thigh. Severe pain in this area does not necessarily mean you have this illness. Sometimes the pain comes on because of deterioration in the condition of the hip joint tendons. If trochanteric bursitis has set in, the sharp pains usually subside to the level of a dull ache, and the pain travels through the thighs into other body areas.

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Pain intensity tends to rise and fall

Varying levels of pain intensity is one of this condition’s characteristics. Doctors differentiate between bursitis of the hip in its acute and common forms. The pain tends to flare up and later decrease in intensity in the acute version of the illness. A typical flare-up might last a few hours, but it could also continue for many days. If this person is unfortunate enough to hurt their hip while in this condition, bursitis can become chronic with severe swelling and pain peaks that might last many weeks.

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Movements become painful and mobility restricted

Sufferers find it very painful to lie down on the side of the body affected by bursitis of the hip, especially trochanteric busitis. The pains and restricted mobility seriously affect the quality of life. The lack of a good night's sleep can weaken a person's immune system and have a negative effect on their mental health. Body movements often hurt, and the joint feels so tender that just pressing on it is painful. Due to this joint pain or stiffness of the joints, it becomes harder to rise from a sitting position.

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A more severe version of the disease

In addition to the surges of pain and mobility limitations that characterize this health issue, bursitis of the hip may develop into a more serious condition known as septic bursitis. The "septic" prefix indicates that a bursa is now infected. Patients start to run a high fever in this situation. They often also start to suffer from shivering and may develop skin infections besides the redness bursitis normally causes.

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Common causes of Bursitis of the Hip

This condition has a number of possible causes. Sometimes it develops because a person has one leg longer than the other leg, and this puts extra pressure on the hip joint. Rheumatoid arthritis and gout might also be triggers. In some cases, the hip problem starts because of an injury. Other health issues might also lead to bursitis of the hip, for example, diabetes and certain kinds of infections. The onset of the illness often has no obvious cause.

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Tips to avoid developing this hip problem

There is no guaranteed way to avoid bursitis, but it makes sense to do whatever you can to lower the risks. Take appropriate precautions whenever you need to do any actions that place an extra strain on your hips. For example, perform a warm-up routine and stretch before starting an exercise class. Regular exercise reduces the chance of hip damage. Losing weight is another sound move to make; besides reducing pressures on the hips, it also helps heart health.

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Plenty of rest and medications

Doctors tell patients that they should rest the painful hip joint as much as possible to aid healing. Avoiding activities that put a strain on the hips is a key element in this rest plan. As well as rest, patients often require painkillers. Before getting the painkiller, try using a traditional ice pack to reduce swelling. The next stage in the treatment process usually involves performing exercises to help keep muscles supple. The doctor advises about appropriate exercise routines to follow.

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Physical therapy sessions

Physical therapy can help to reduce inflammation of the hip and to restore mobility. The therapists have various techniques to improve the strength of the hips and remove causes of friction on the bursa. They usually suggest a program of stretch exercises for the patient to follow. Do not expect a single session to make a big difference. Normally the therapy sessions are spread over one to one and half months. The patient should feel hip functionality and full mobility return during this period.

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If standard treatments do not bring sufficient relief

If rest and non-steroid medications fail to ease the suffering, other options are available. Injections of steroid painkillers help relieve severe hip pain. In some rare cases, the doctor sees a need for surgery. A simple surgical procedure removes the bursa from the hip. The patient suffers no disability due to the absence of the bursa. This operation does normally involve a long stay in the hospital and has a fast recovery time.

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How doctors detect bursitis of the hip

In standard cases, the doctor only needs to make a physical exam and evaluate the patient's medical history to reach this diagnosis. The exam tests how stiff the hip has become, and whether or not the patient limps. Doctors normally ask questions such as, when did the pain start, and which actions trigger the pain. The next step often involves taking a set of x-rays to make sure this is the only source of this hip problem. For example, it can be hard to know from the examination and questions alone if this is a case of bursitis of the hip or arthritis in this joint.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.