Greater Trochanteric Bursitis: What is it and How is it Treated?

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What is Greater Trochanteric Bursitis?

Greater trochanteric bursitis affects the greater trochanter, a point of the hip. It occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed or irritated. The bursa is a fluid-filled cavity that is near the joints in the body. Greater trochanteric bursitis causes pain that occurs in the hip and the pain can also affect the buttock and thigh. The pain is often worse when performing certain activities such as walking up stairs and getting out of a car or chair.

What Causes Greater Trochanteric Bursitis?

Greater trochanteric bursitis can be caused by a number of things. Things such as a hip injury, overuse of the hip joint and previous hip surgeries can cause this condition. Other things that can cause greater trochanteric bursitis include calcium deposits or bone spurs on the hip bone, soft tissue stress, bad posture and certain diseases and conditions.

How is This Condition Treated?

Corticosteroid injections and physical therapy are the most common treatment methods for greater trochanteric bursitis. If these methods fail, surgery may be performed. Corticosteroids are cortisone-related medications that have powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities. Corticosteroid injections are strategically placed injections in which corticosteroids are injected to combat inflammation. These injections are not pain-relievers, but when they reduce inflammation, the pain associated with greater trochanteric bursitis is often alleviated as well. These injections are not meant to permanently cure the condition, but many people do find significant relief of their symptoms to last several months.

Physical therapy is often used in the treatment of greater trochanteric bursitis to help patients maintain mobility in the affected hip joint. Physical therapy can also help to stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. Splinting and range of motion exercises are the most commonly used physical therapy techniques for this condition. Once a patients range of motion improves, they can begin to slowly strengthen the area.

If corticosteroid injections and physical therapy do not improve a patients condition surgery may be necessary to treat greater trochanteric bursitis. During surgery the bursa will be removed. By removing the bursa the tendon that glides over the bursa will experience reduced tension. If surgery is successful, the pain and mobility issues associated with greater trochanteric bursitis will be greatly alleviated.


The Cleveland Clinic. (2009). Trochanteric Bursitis. Retrieved on June 27, 2009 from