Hip Bursitis Pain - A pain in the butt

Andrew O'Neill

One of the most common causes of hip-related pain is something called hip bursitis. People who suffer from the condition most commonly complain of the following - A dull, burning pain on the outside of the hip bone which in turn means people cannot lie on that affected side causing difficulty to sleep, they also struggle to walk up and down the stairs or cannot sit for prolonged periods of time. Many people will state it gets worse with excessive walking.

What is a Bursa and what is Bursitis?

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A bursa is a closed fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is known as "bursitis." There are two major bursae of the hip, the trochanteric bursa, and the ischial bursa. These are located adjacent to the edges of the femur (thighbone) and pelvic bone, respectively.

Such a condition is more likely to happen on the right hip as opposed to the left hip (although not uncommon in both). There are several reasons for this, but a lot of the time it comes down to the fact as humans we favor the right side of our bodies more than the left. Funnily enough, this is nothing to do with us being right handed or right legged. It’s all to do with the orientation of our diaphragm - the muscle that pulls air in and out of our lungs. The diaphragm is larger and stronger on the right side of our body. How is this related to my right sided hip pain ?! Well the fact that the diaphragm is larger and stronger on the right means our rib cage gets turned/ orientated to the left because we try to compensate for a weaker diaphragm by flaring the left side of our rib cage, in turn (and this is the important bit !!) our pelvis then rotates and orientates to the right which means we place a lot more weight through our right hip. Our right hip internally rotates, as a result, hence a lot of the muscles become dysfunctional on that side which can cause pain and inflammation. Have a look at somebody in a queue sometimes, I bet you will see them standing over to the right side or leaning through their right hip! This may sound complicated but in reality, it just takes an understanding of how the body moves when we breathe, walk and stand.

How do we fix it?

It’s actually quite simple, we get people to use the LEFT side of their body more! These exercises can be something as simple as standing and shift their weight into the left hip more activating left hip muscles or even making them aware of their left heel and foot with the use of a specific insole. You will find a lot of these exercises on our website and youtube page (just type in tc physiotherapy). It is also necessary to do some specific hands-on treatment as well to get you out of pain initially. To help ease it yourself at home we advise you ice the area, do some glute stretching but also and more importantly do some groin stretches. This should help with the pain but may not solve the issue fully, that takes a trained eye and a specific assessment.

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Tommy ConwayComment