What is trochanteritis and how is it treated?


Trochanteritis, also known as trochanteric bursitis, is an inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that helps cushion friction between bones and soft tissues) on the outside of the thigh near the hip joint. The etiology or cause of trochanteritis can be varied and is not always known with certainty, but some of the possible causes are:

  • Repetitive overuse: excessive or repetitive use of the thigh and hip muscles, such as in high-impact sports or work activities involving repetitive motions, can lead to irritation and inflammation of the bursa.
  • Traumatic injuries: a direct blow to the hip or a fall can damage the bursa and cause inflammation.
  • Biomechanical alterations: differences in leg length, flat feet or excessive foot pronation can alter the biomechanics of the hip and increase pressure on the bursa.
  • Systemic diseases: some systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can cause inflammation in the bursae, including the trochanteric bursa.
  • Other less common causes include infections, tumors and autoimmune diseases.

Diagnosis and treatment of trochanteritis

Trochanteritis is an inflammation of the tendons and muscles that cover the greater trochanter of the femur, the protruding bone at the top of the thigh. The pain associated with trochanteritis is felt in the side of the hip and may radiate into the upper thigh.

The diagnosis of trochanteritis is made by a combination of clinical history, physical examination, and sometimes imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI. It is important to rule out other causes of hip pain, such as hip arthritis, before making a diagnosis of trochanteritis.

Treatment of trochanteritis focuses on reducing inflammation and pain. In general, conservative treatment including rest, ice, analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and stretching and strengthening exercises is recommended.

In more severe cases, an injection of corticosteroids into the inflamed area may be necessary to reduce swelling and pain. Rarely, surgery may be necessary if conservative treatment is not effective.

It is important to seek treatment for trochanteritis as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening into a chronic, debilitating condition.