What is Bursitis?
Depending on your familiarity with human anatomy, you might have already guessed. This disease is caused by inflammation of bursae (plural of bursa). A bursa is a sac that is filled with fluid, kind of like a jello-filled balloon. It’s job is to reduce friction and act like a cushion between important internal structures like muscles, joints and tendons.
There are two forms that bursitis typically comes in. An indirect cause is when you develop it as a result of a separate trauma to surrounding structures. What this article will be looking at is the direct case, where something causes bursitis to become inflamed.
Causes of Bursitis
Most often, bursitis is an overuse injury, much like snapping hip syndrome. Doing activities that put a lot of impact on your bursae repeatedly will increase the risk of developing the injury. The worst sports for hip bursae in particular are:
Anything that involves a lot of hip flexion and high stress turning. A secondary risk factor, that you can’t do anything about, is age. When you get older, your tendons get weaker and less elastic, which are more likely to give you grief.
There are two main bursae in your hip that most commonly become inflamed. There’s a bursa located right at the greater trochanter that when inflamed is called tronchanteric bursitis. A second bursa – the iliopsoas bursa – is right on the main psoas muscles at the front of your hip and is on the groin side.
Symptoms of Hip Bursitis
Depending on which bursa is inflamed, you will have pain at that point, likely either right on top of the hip joint, or at the upper part of your groin. The pain itself is strong and sharp at first, and can radiate a significant distance from the bursa itself. Over time you may notice that it turns into a duller aching type pain.
The problem with an inflamed bursa, is that there are multiple structures that can put pressure on the bursa, and contact with anything will cause pain. In particular, lying on it while trying to sleep may cause issues. You should be able to identify the injury by palpating (touching/feeling) the area and seeing if it hurts more when you touch it.
If you go see a physician, which is recommended, he/she may also have you take an x-ray or MRI.
Treating Hip Bursitis
The first step in treatment is to stop, or minimize, all activity. Just about any activity, including walking will cause pain and can aggravate your inflamed bursae. If you have access to a cane or crutches, you may find them useful. Try to avoid stretching as well.
Using standard anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and advil can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain temporarily. Combining this will ice and eventually massage will help you heal faster.
A rehab program should be prescribed to you by your doctor depending on the severity of your bursitis. The worse the damage and inflammation is, the longer you will be inactive and the weaker your hip muscles will get.