Skip to content

Overcoming Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. Although hip bursitis affects both active and inactive individuals, it is most commonly diagnosed in moderately active, middle-aged people or those who have recently increased their activity level.  The location of pain is on the outside of the hip.  Pain from hip bursitis can result in a limited ability to lie on the involved side, walk, climb stairs, squat, or participate in recreational activities.

At Movement Solutions, we use a whole-body approach to help our patients overcome hip bursitis and get back to their favorite activities without medications, injections, or surgeries.  This begins with a head-to-toe movement assessment to determine the root cause of hip bursitis.  Some root causes of hip bursitis include:

  • Gluteal muscle weakness
  • Iliotibial (IT) band (a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the pelvis to the knee) tightness
  • Hip muscle tightness
  • Abnormal hip or knee structure
  • Abnormal hip or knee mechanics (movement)
  • Improper movement technique with repetitive activities
  • Change in an exercise routine or sport activity
  • Improper footwear

Once we determine the root cause of pain, our treatment approach involves 3-steps: 

  1. Treatment to alleviate pain.
  2. Exercises to restore movement.
  3. Strength training to achieve lasting results.

In the presence of hip pain, we may find tension, trigger points (knots), and tightness of hip muscles.  In addition, stiffness of the spine and thigh regions might be present.  Weakness of the core and buttock muscles can be problematic as well.  In most cases, proper movement needs to be taught (e.g. how to genernate tension in the hips and thighs) to help offload an irritated hip bursa.  However, the only way to know what may be contributing to hip pain is to perform a thorough assessment.

After an assessment, treatment to alleviate pain might include dry needling, soft-tissue work, or hands-on mobilization of the hip muscles. We also may also work on the lower back and thigh regions to reduce pain if these regions were found to be stiff or painful.  For our virtual sessions, we teach our clients techniques they can perform on their own using a lacrosse ball, foam roller, or their own hands.

The next step is to perform targeted exercises so the pain improvements hold and movement can be restored.  The targeted exercises include exercises for the hip flexors, hip abductors/rotators, and hip extensor muscles.

Once pain is controlled and movement improves, our next step is to develop strength.  To develop strength, functional exercises are key.  When performed with good technique, squats, deadlifts, steps, lunges, kettlebell swings, and other multi-joint exercises can develop strength and foster longevity.  It is important to generate tension at the hips and core when performing these movements so they are both safe and effective.

When addressed with a plan of care from Movement Solutions, overcoming hip bursitis is possible.  Ignoring symptoms, on the other hand, may lead to pain that simply does not go away.  If you have hip pain and have been told you have hip bursitis, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you.

We offer a free guide on athletic injuries so you can learn more about common hip problems and kickstart your recovery.  We also offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your hip is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.  If you want to be certain that we’re a good fit to work together, we encourage you to apply for a free Discovery Visit.  This is a 30-minute consultation for you to to ask questions, obtain clarity, and foster confidence that we can help you.

If you’re in pain and you’re unsure about your next steps, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.

Physical Therapist Dr. Tim Varghese

Dr. Tim Varghese

Movement Solutions

"We Help Active Adults, Ages 40-60+ Overcome Pain And Injuries And Get Back To Their Favorite Activities Without Unnecessary Medications, Injections, Or Surgeries."