Physical Therapy for Hip Bursitis

Physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms caused by hip bursitis. Also called trochanteric bursitis, hip bursitis occurs when the bursa located at the tip of your hip, on the side is irritated and inflamed. A bursa is a fluid-filled tissue sac that acts as a cushion or padding between your bone and overlying tissue, such as a muscle, bone or skin.

In hip bursitis, the trochanteric bursa is irritated and conversely becomes inflamed causing pain. Pain may worsen if you try to move your hip or lie on it.

Physical therapy for Hip Bursitis

During your first physical therapy visit, your physical therapist will likely ask you about your activity when you experienced symptoms. In addition, your PT may want to know if you have had previous injury to your hip or if you have other health problems.

Your therapist will then conduct a thorough examination and evaluation of your hip to find the real cause of your symptoms or to rule out other hip problems. He or she will then formulate a comprehensive rehabilitation program specifically made for you. You will be actively participating in deciding on your plan of treatment.

In general, your physical therapist will be employing several treatment options cold therapy and electrotherapy to help relieve your symptoms; stretching to relieve muscle and joint stiffness; physical therapy exercises for hip flexibility and strengthening; and other therapeutic techniques.

Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Hip Bursitis / Trochanteric Bursitis

Your physical therapist may include a combination of any of the following as part of your rehabilitation program
  • Cold therapy (e.g. ice pack, ice massage)
  • Hot pack application
  • Electrotherapy
    • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
    • Iontophoresis
    • Ultrasound / Phonophoresis
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Hip joint mobilization
  • Manual stretching
  • Physical Therapy exercises
    • Gradual range of motion (ROM) exercises
    • Flexibility/Stretching exercises
    • General conditioning exercises
    • Progressive strengthening exercises
    • Hip Stabilization Exercises
  • Suggest use of walking aid like a cane, walker, or crutches
  • Walking aid training
  • Gait or walking training
  • Suggest use of orthotics if necessary
  • Patient education
    • About hip bursitis
    • Precautions to observe
    • Activity or work modification
    • Self-care of symptoms
    • Injury prevention
  • Activity or work-specific rehabilitation program

Your physical therapist may include other treatments not mentioned above. Remember, however, that the treatments will be dependent on the cause of your bursitis, the symptoms that you have or specific needs, and your goals. Your PT will be able to help you determine the appropriate plan of care for you.

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