One of the more common causes of hip pain is bursitis usually involving the greater trochanteric bursa.  This bursa lies on the lateral or outer aspect of the hip and is important in allowing the iliotibial band to glide passed the hip during walking, running, or any weight bearing activity.

Normally this bursa is very thin (like a baggie with a small amount of olive oil inside) to allow friction free motion of the band across the bony prominence.  When inflamed it thickens, has more fluid, and can cause pain with activity, rest, and especially sitting activity.  The mainstay of treatment is decreasing the inflammation, stretching out the iliotibial band, modifying activity, and regaining function without pain.

We can use anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, home stretching(Video) and strengthening exercises, or physical therapy.  If symptoms persist despite conservative care, we usually get an MRI to rule out other causes of hip pain, such as labral tears, FAI (hip impingement), or tendon tears of the gluteus medius tendon which inserts on the greater trochanteric process.

The surgical treatment for persistent bursitis of the hip is arthroscopic bursectomy and sometimes partial release of the iliotibial band.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretching

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