By: Dr. Zach Daniels PT, DPT, Cert. DN
Hip pain is a general term for pain felt in or around the hip joint. It can be debilitatingly painful and limit activities people once enjoyed. One of the most common causes of hip pain is hip bursitis. Hip bursitis is a condition that can affect anyone at any age, although certain populations are more susceptible, such as women, middle-aged individuals, or those who are 65 and older. The most common type of hip bursitis is called trochanteric bursitis, in which pain is typically felt along the outer side of the hip, usually at the widest part. The bursa is essentially a fluid-filled sac. Its job is to act as a cushion between the hip joint and the surrounding soft tissue. When it becomes inflamed or swollen - often due to increased friction - it cannot perform its job and becomes increasingly painful.
Cause and Symptoms
Hip bursitis can be caused suddenly from trauma or develop slowly over time due to multiple varying factors that may create repeated stress to the area. Such factors could result from overuse of the surrounding muscles, incorrect spinal/ pelvic alignment, or repetitive stress. Often, the cause is unknown. One of the most common symptoms of hip bursitis is pain felt along the lateral side (outside) of the hip and down into the thigh or the buttock. Those who have hip bursitis may also find certain activities to be difficult or painful such as long periods of walking or running, standing from a low chair or car, walking upstairs, or sleeping on the side of the affected hip. It is proven that the most effective tool for diagnosing hip bursitis without extensive MRI imaging is through a comprehensive physical therapy examination. Addressing this issue with a Doctor of physical therapy is the best step to take to begin the process of returning to a pain-free lifestyle.
How can physical therapy help?
A physical therapist will perform a detailed evaluation to identify if hip bursitis is present. Depending on the unique impairments determined for each patient, we will create a plan with the goal of returning to a pain-free and functional lifestyle. The initial step to take with this condition is to reduce the inflammation or swelling of the bursa. To minimize this swelling, several techniques can be used. Soft tissue mobilization is one vital step in this process. This hands-on technique increases blood flow which allows healing to occur in the area. Other modalities may be considered for this condition, including:
- Electrotherapy - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Dry Needling
- Phonophoresis (ultrasound with topical medication)
Once the inflammation is addressed, it is also vital to restore any spinal/ pelvic alignment motion and activate muscles that are contributing to the underlying cause of the condition. This plan will be specific to each patient, as we have realized time and time again, not one individual presents the same way. With the reduction of swelling and restoration of correct kinematic movement, there will be decreased friction in the hip region, thereby diminishing the pain. By being proactive and addressing this concern, hip bursitis can become a simple fix with proper treatment from a physical therapist.
Professional Rehabilitation Services is experienced in treating this injury and has witnessed positive results. By using evidence-based practice, we will ensure to give you the optimal treatment based on your unique presentation. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns, and we will be happy to advise you on your process of returning to a fully functional lifestyle.
For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Zach Daniels PT, DPT, Cert DN. (Market Commons) (843) 213-6338, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, STC, OCS, CWcHP (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, MPT, OCS, Cert. SMT, CWcHP (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Jill P. Phelan, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Conway) (843) 773-3031, Lisa O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Karl Ehlers, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Little River) (843) 281- 4222, Samantha Crisafulli PT,DPT (Carolina Forest) (843) 282-0440https://prsrehabservices.com