Exercise Tips for Hip (Trochanteric) Bursitis

As I was lying on the couch, acutely aware of where my trochanter protrudes on my femur. I thought: ‘I should write my little friends (you!) a note about bursitis’.  I have had some flare ups with the ol’ ‘B’ word but I can generally keep the pain pretty short-lived because I know what to stay away from.  And if you have bursitis, I think you should know, too!

Hip burisitis occurs when the cushion between the hip bone and thigh bone gets inflamed

Hip bursitis, and more specifically trochanteric bursitis, occurs when the cushion between the hip bone and muscles of the thigh becomes inflamed,

Acute episodes of bursitis need never become chronic. Just stop pushing on the bursa!  The bursa is a soft little pillow that cushions the connection between a bony point on your thigh bone (the trochanter) and the tissues of the outside of the thigh. And if your thigh bone squishes the bursa, it becomes inflamed; hence the ‘-itis’ that gets suffixed onto the backside of bursa…

How do you squish the bursa? The bursa is easily squished when you externally rotate the thigh or repeatedly rub the trochanter against the bursa once inflamed. External rotation crams the greater trochanter against the bursa squeezing the life out of it. That’s fine when the bursa is happy but when it’s not happy you need to avoid squishing, smushing and otherwise irritating the bursa.

Here are some things you can do to avoid externally rotating the thigh.

  1. Don’t cross your legs with one ankle dropped over the opposite knee.
  2. Do sit with the legs together, knees touching. If you can cross the legs and smush the inner thighs together you will still be avoiding external rotation and you could be internally rotating which will pull the thigh bone away from the bursa–aaahhhh, sweet relief…. (think piriformis stretch for the professionals out there)
  3. Walk with your feet pointed straight ahead: no duck feet. Duck feet externally rotate the hip and smush the bursa
  4. Perform exercises that internally rotate the hip.  Lie on your back, feet hip-width apart and push the knees towards each other.  You can do an isometric push here.
  5. Another exercise: Lie on your side, bottom leg bent, top leg straight. Now lift the top leg to just below hip height.  Then bring the entire inside of the foot back down to touch the floor (heel to big toe knuckle)
  6. Sleep on your back with your ankles crossed and knees rotated inward.  Okay, so you might not last the entire night that way but it is a great way to get off that bursa!
  7. Do not move the leg to the side of your body past the hip bone.  (No hip abduction for the professionals…) You will have to adopt a demur lady-like position in everything you do until the pain subsides.
  8. Do not sit cross-legged.
  9. If you are really flared up you’ll get discomfort with walking for a period of time or otherwise moving the trochanter against the bursa. If you are doing something that hurts, I would recommend not doing that.

Does this make sense? Each and every time you externally rotate the thigh or carry the thigh to the outside of the body you ‘smush’ the bursa.  Since the bursa is inflamed that kind of motion is only going to tick it off further.   So…you’ll get relief extremely quickly if you can just remember to STOP SMUSHING THE BURSA.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions! K

Exercise Tips for Hip (Trochanteric) Bursitis

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