Bursitis trochanterica (bursitis of the hip)

What is it?

Bursitis trochanterica, is an inflammation of the bursa, also known as a fat pad, located between the bony prominence on the side of the upper leg (trochanter major) and a thick bundle of soft tissue known as the iliotibial band.


A bursitis trochanterica can have a number of causes, but in most cases it occurs as a result of a big repetitive effort such as playing a few extra sets in a tennis match, or adding an extra five or six kilometers to a run. These types of repetitive activities may cause an overuse which results in an irritation of the fat pad. In some cases, early stage arthroses (wear and tear) can also be one of the causes.

At Orthomedix we assess the full kinetic chain, including all the joints and functions in order to filter out the primary cause of your complaints.

What happens exactly?

When the bursa gets irritated, the body produces additional fluid within the joint which results in swelling and pain. As the bursa swells from the fluid, the pain may worsen over the course of the first four to five days. Once the inflammatory process has begun, there is a high risk of developing chronic complaints. It is imperative to treat bursitis trochanterica as early as possible in order to avoid any long lasting complaints.


  • Pain surrounding the bony prominence on the outside of the hip joint
  • Radiating pain on the outer side of the upper leg sometimes as far as the knee
  • Limping
  • Activities of daily living such as walking stairs or crossing the legs
  • Night pain, especially when lying on the side of the painful leg


The physiotherapist or (orthopedic) manual therapist will assess the bursa by gently palpating (pressing) around the trochanter major. Should there be an inflammation of the bursa, this will certainly cause some pain. In order to rule out other pathologies, the therapist will also fully assess the hip joint. If the complaints are strictly due to a buritis, the hip joint will be unaffected and move naturally, and pain free. Furthermore, the remaining structures and functions of the full kinetic chain will be assessed.


Using Orthopedic Manual Therapy, a full assessment will be conducted in order to determine the appropriate treatment methods and/or advises. Treatment for this pathology is highly effective and absolutely recommended.

Should there be any remaining symptoms even after treatment, then we will consult the general practitioner and/or specialist to give additional specific advises.

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