If you’re suffering from hip bursitis, the first thing your chiropractor will likely recommend is to reduce your activity level. You may need to take a break from impact activities or sports altogether. If your job involves sitting for long periods of time, you may need to take some time off work as well. Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, you can gradually reintroduce activity into your life. It’s important not to overdo it, though. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can trigger a relapse.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the main hip bursitis symptoms and causes. As we move to Part 2, we will talk about how to treat hip bursitis and reduce its inflammation and pain.

What Causes Hip Bursitis?

Several factors can contribute to the development of hip bursitis. One of the most common is repetitive stress on the joint. This could be from a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time or from a sport that puts repeated stress on the hip joint. Age-related changes in the hip joint can also make you more susceptible to bursitis, such as loss of cartilage and changes in the shape of the joint.

Here are the leading causes of hip bursitis:

  • Repetitive motion and overuse;
  • Other conditions (e.g., scoliosis, arthritis, diabetes, gout, etc.);
  • Bacterial infection.

In the United States, 15% of women and 8.5% of men of all ages suffer from hip bursitis. Older and middle-aged individuals are more likely to suffer from this condition. Various factors can cause bursitis in the hip, but the most common is a repetitive activity, such as walking or running on uneven surfaces, which creates friction in the hip area.

Hip Bursitis Treatment

Exercises and stretches are usually prescribed for treating hip bursitis to help prevent muscle loss. Do not engage in activities that cause pain while you are recovering. Instead, speak to a chiropractor about exercises that can help you build strength around the injured area. If you have bursitis, you may be unable to perform daily activities properly. It may be necessary to undergo physical therapy to get you moving again. This is especially true if you’re suffering from chronic bursitis.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Hip Bursitis

Patients who suffer from hip bursitis can seek treatment from primary care providers, physiatrists (i.e., physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists), sports medicine doctors, and orthopedic surgeons. Specialists may recommend the following types of treatment:

Adapting Your Activity Level and Resting

Rest and other methods of treating hip bursitis often provide relief from inflammation caused by injury or overuse. However, sports and/or standing for long periods of time may aggravate and inflame the bursa in people suffering from hip bursitis. Furthermore, a health care provider may recommend using a cane, crutches, or shoe inserts to relieve pressure on the hip.

Ice

In sore hips, an ice or a cold pack can reduce localized pain and swelling. 

The Use of Topical Anti-inflammatory Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers usually contain salicylates, which have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Salicylate topical products include Sportscreme and Aspercreme. In general, topical medications have fewer side effects than oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, others may require a physician’s prescription.

Corticosteroid Injection

A corticosteroid injection may be recommended if symptoms cannot be treated effectively with rest, NSAIDs, and/or physical therapy. The doctor may use an ultrasound to precisely place the injection into the bursa because it lies deep beneath the skin.

Once the pain and inflammation of hip bursitis have subsided, you can gradually reintroduce activity into your life. It’s important not to overdo it, though. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can trigger a relapse. Here are some exercises that can help you safely ease back into activity:

  • Walking;
  • Swimming;
  • Cycling;
  • Stretching;
  • Hip-Strengthening exercises;
  • Pilates;
  • Yoga;
  • General conditioning exercises.

4 Stretches to Decrease Hip Bursitis Pain

Your doctor or physical therapist will probably tell you when to start and how often you should do your hip bursitis exercises. Generally, it is recommended to do the stretches two to three times a day and the exercises one to two times a day as tolerated. You will need a cushion or pillow, as well as a floor mat. Take your time when you first begin each exercise, and ease up if there is pain.

Here are the four stretches:

#1: Hip Rotator Stretch

  1. On your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Your affected ankle should be placed on the opposite thigh, near your knee.
  3. Push your knee gently away from your body with your hand until you feel a gentle stretch at the front of your hip.
  4. You should hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Repeat this stretch two to four times. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do this.

#2: Iliotibial Band Stretch

  1. Standing against a wall, place the affected hip against it. If you need extra support, grab a chair or something else that’s sturdy.
  2. Cross the other leg in front of your affected hip and put your weight on your affected hip.
  3. Put your arm above your head, on the same side as the affected hip.
  4. As you lean away from the wall, let your affected hip press against it until you feel a gentle stretch.
  5. For 15 to 30 seconds, hold the stretch.

Repeat this stretch two to four times. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do this.

#3: Straight-leg Raises

  1. Lying on your side, place the affected hip on top. Make sure to support your head and stabilize yourself if you need to. Grab a pillow if necessary.
  2. Keep your knee straight by tightening the muscles in your affected leg.
  3. Lift the leg that’s on top until your foot is about 12 inches away from the floor. 
  4. Make sure to always keep your hip and leg in line with the rest of your body. Keep everything straight.
  5. For six seconds, hold your leg in the raised position and slowly lower it.

Repeat this exercise eight to twelve times. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do this.

#4: Clamshell

  1. While lying on your side, place the affected hip on top. Be sure to support your head and stabilize yourself if you need to. If necessary, use a pillow.
  2. Bend both of your knees while keeping your legs together.
  3. Keeping your feet together, open your legs by lifting your top knee until your knees are about 8-10 inches apart. Make sure your top hip doesn’t roll back while doing each repetition.
  4. Hold your raised leg for six seconds, and then slowly lower your knee.
  5. Rest for 10 seconds before doing another repetition.

Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do this.

In general, hip bursitis heals by itself. The discomfort can usually be relieved through noninvasive measures, including rest, ice, and pain relievers. If these treatments don’t work, you may need to have fluid removed from the bursa, or you may need steroid shots to reduce swelling and pain.

Bursitis of the hip is rarely treated with surgery, which is used only when all other options have failed. When surgery is necessary, however, it is a simple procedure. Essentially, the bursa is removed from the hip, as it does not affect the hip’s function. The recovery period is generally brief and does not require an extended hospital stay.

Providing your hip joint with time to rest and heal is the best thing you can do if you suffer from hip bursitis. You can gradually get back to your routine once the pain and inflammation are gone.

We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you!