Do you have pain in your hip and pain that radiates to the outside of your thigh? What is it and how do you manage the pain?
These are commonly asked questions for the physicians at the Kennedy Center at Mercy in Oshkosh. Often patients are afraid to go to an orthopedic doctor because they think they will have to have surgery to relieve the pain. But if you have bursitis, the pain can be managed in a variety of non-surgical ways.
First, what is bursitis? Simply put, it is an inflammation of the bursa, the thin sacs of fluid that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles in joints . These sacs are important because they absorb the shock when the hip moves.
People with bursitis often describe the pain as sharp and intense but may become more of an ache as the pain extends across a larger area of the hip. Often the pain is more intense at night when you lie on the affected hip or when you get up from sitting for a prolonged period of time. Walking, climbing stairs or any activity that would inflame the bursa sac in your hip can cause prolonged pain.
The good news is that bursitis is treated non-surgically. Doctors at the Kennedy Center typically recommend that patients begin by avoiding activities that make your symptoms worse. If that’s not a reasonable option, the next step is to try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, naproxen, piroxiam, celecoxib or other NSAID’s to relieve pain and lessen the inflammation. Because NSAID’s can have adverse side effects, it’s important to talk with your physician about their use.
Physical Therapy which offers exercise instruction, massage and ultra-sound can be a good option. You can do many of the strengthening and stretching exercises they teach in the comfort of your own home.
Steroid Injections are available from the board certified physicians at the Kennedy Center. The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) explains the procedure: “Injection of a corticosteroid along with a local anesthetic may be helpful in relieving symptoms of hip bursitis. This is a simple and effective treatment that can be done in the doctor’s office. It involves a single injection into the bursa. The injection may provide temporary (months) or permanent relief. If pain and inflammation return, another injection or two, given a few months apart, may be needed. It is important to limit the number of injections as prolonged corticosteroid injections may damage the surrounding tissues.”
Hip bursitis is a common – if painful – ailment as people age, and it is more common in women than in men. The AAOS says that “Although hip bursitis cannot always be prevented, there are things you can do to prevent the inflammation from getting worse.
- Avoid repetitive activities that put stress on the hips
- Lose weight if you need to
- Get a properly fitting shoe insert if you have leg-length differences
- Maintain strength and flexibility of the hip muscles