This condition is really irritating. I swear I see about 4 patients a day with it; either as a primary diagnosis or it’s just something they mention that they have at the end of the visit. I’ve had it in the past and I have it right now. Many women are going to get it. It’s kind of like plantar fasciitis. Ninety-nine percent of the people who get it are women. It’s hard to get rid of. And it really, really hurts.
Sometimes we doctors tend to kind of ignore it because it is simply hard to get rid of and because it’s not really a destructive process. We just hope it will go away! You’re not going to die from it. You’re not even going to get arthritis from it. But you’re going to suffer…probably a lot…and in some cases it’s going to consume your days and nights with pain.
First let me define it and make sure we’re all on the same page. Hip bursitis or greater trochanteric bursitis causes pain on the outside of your hip. It’s right over that large bump on the lateral side of your hip. You can put your hand on it and it’s usually tender to touch. Most people think it’s “the hip” and they think they have arthritis of the hip. But your hip joint is actually deep in your groin area, and not around that bump on the outside of the hip. This pain usually doesn’t radiate down the leg. I say usually because sometimes it can go down the outside of your leg, but it would not go past the knee.
So if you’re a woman (usually over 40) with pain over that bump that sticks out at the side of your hip, and it’s painful to touch or to sleep on or to get in and out of chairs or the car, and it doesn’t go down your leg and it’s not in your buttock, then it’s probably greater trochanteric bursitis and so now we can talk about it. Most guys, people with groin pain, children, and people with sciatica and back pain…wait…your time to talk is coming.
The rest of you listen in. We’ve got this ridiculous condition because our iliotibial band has to make a big trip around that big bone that sticks out, mostly because we’re women and our hips are wider in order to have babies. And frankly it doesn’t matter because if you’ve got the pain…who cares. We just want to get rid of it.
So if you’re like me, and you know you’ve got it within about 2 days of its onset. Dang it. Like I woke up a day ago with lateral hip pain and I’ve still got it today. That’s when I want everyone to catch it. Because the earlier you recognize it, the faster you can do things to make it go away. But most people don’t realize what they’re in for until they’ve had it for 6 months. You think it’s just one of those things that will go away on its own. Wrong. But no matter how long you’ve had it, this is what you need to do.
1) Try to figure out why you have it. Did you get a new car that requires you to scoop your leg under the steering wheel in order to get in? Did you start a new exercise program? Running with some strange newfangled shoe? Did you develop an ingrown toenail which has caused you to limp? Are you alive and breathing, because seriously, I think that’s all it takes in some cases? Most of you are going to be unable to name a causative factor, especially if you’ve had it for a while. But if you can, then make changes. If it’s your car, sell it. Oh, first try to raise the steering wheel or put your seat back further and then once you’re in, move it up. If it’s your ingrown toenail, get it well. If it’s a certain shoe, change it.
I’m going to give you a day or so to figure out if you’ve got greater trochanteric bursitis and to think about why you might have it. Then more on how to get rid of it.