Can You Exercise the Pain of Hip Bursitis Away?

Hip bursitis can be a very painful condition and can dramatically limit activity. It occurs when a bursa -- a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between a bone and a muscle -- becomes inflamed. There are multiple bursae in the hip; however, the one most commonly affected is the greater trochanteric bursa. It is located near the bony prominence on the outside of the hip. Fortunately, exercise can be used to effectively treat this condition in many cases.

Close-up of a person's legs running on a treadmill. Credit: Kanawa_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Exercises to Treat Bursitis

Improving hip flexibility and strength is crucial to addressing hip bursitis. Tight or weak muscles can alter the way you walk or move, leading to friction and inflammation of the bursa. A physical therapist can help target specific areas of tightness or weakness and prescribe exercises to address them. Eccentric exercises, which focus on making the hip muscles slowly lengthen against a load, are typically recommended. Rest from aggravating, repetitive activities, such as running and jumping, is also helpful.

Further Treatment and Precautions

Bursitis that fails to significantly improve with exercise may also be treated with a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation of the affected bursa. If these treatments ultimately fail, surgery may be necessary to address the problem. Report any increase in hip pain, locking of the joint or loss of strength to your doctor as this could signal a more serious issue.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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