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Hip bursitis

Diagnosis of hip bursitis

To diagnose hip bursitis, your doctor will begin by taking a medical history, and will then conduct a physical exam. During this exam, your doctor will be looking for pain or tenderness in your hip. You may also undergo testing to check your mobility and strength and rule out additional injuries or underlying conditions.

Your doctor might order imaging tests such as x-ray, MRIs, ultrasounds, or bone scans. Ultrasound and MRI specifically are used to confirm the diagnosis when the bursae are too deep for regular inspection.

In cases where the swelling is particularly painful, red, or warm, your doctor may withdraw fluid from the bursa to check for infection.


Treatment and prevention options focus on relieving the pain and swelling and preventing future attacks and hip joint damage.

To start, your doctor will likely recommend nonsurgical strategies. This includes resting the hip and taking anti-inflammatory medicines. You may be instructed to use a cane or crutches, which can relieve pressure from the hip and allow healing. Corticosteroid shots into the hip are sometimes necessary as well.

In rare cases, your doctor may recommend hip surgery. This surgery is usually done arthroscopically. Your surgeon will remove the bursa through a 1/4-inch incision. Your hip can function normally without the bursa.

Physical therapy can help speed your recovery and prevent recurrences. A physical therapist can teach you strengthening and flexibility exercises. Other techniques include stretching your hip muscles and massaging the muscles and joints with a foam roller.


Before going to your doctor, you will want to prepare a list of your symptoms, when they began, and how they’ve changed over time. Your doctor will want to know your medical history, if anything brought this pain on, and how it has limited your activities. If you have questions for your doctor, it can also be helpful to write them down before your appointment.

If you are a candidate for surgery, your care team will provide you with instructions before your appointment. This list will generally include not eating or drinking for 12 hours before your surgery and having another person available to drop you off and pick you up from your surgery center. Hip bursitis surgery is usually outpatient, meaning you will not have to spend the night in the hospital.


Living with chronic hip bursitis may require some changes to your everyday life. To minimize flare-ups, try to stretch every day. This will increase your range of motion. You can also work to avoid repetitive motion activities that you’ve noticed are harmful to your bursitis. It is especially important to rest your hip after activities and if you are having a flare-up. This resting will allow your body to heal.

Your recovery is mostly up to you and how you choose to alter your life. Patients who ultimately need surgery will have slightly longer recoveries, but they are still generally not long or painful.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.