Trochanteric bursa

Last revised by Francis Deng on 25 Dec 2020

The trochanteric bursa, also known as the greater trochanteric bursa or, more specifically, the subgluteus maximus bursa, is the hip bursa located deep to the gluteus maximus muscle that is usually implicated in trochanteric bursitis.

The trochanteric bursa is located deep to the gluteus maximus muscle as it inserts into the fascia lata/iliotibial tract 1,2. It covers the posterior facet of the greater trochanter as well as the insertion of the gluteus medius tendon on the lateral facet and the proximal origin of the vastus lateralis muscle 2.

The trochanteric bursa is the largest of the bursae around the greater trochanter 3. In adults, it measures around 4-5 cm in craniocaudal and mediolateral dimensions 2.

In many cases, there is actually more than one bursal space in this locale 1. The main trochanteric bursa is the deep subgluteus maximus bursa, which may be associated with a superficial subgluteus maximus bursa and/or secondary deep subgluteus maximus bursa or bursae 4. The gluteofemoral bursa sometimes covers part of the greater trochanter as well but is generally located more inferiorly 4.

The trochanteric bursa is supplied by branches of the inferior gluteal nerve 1.

Histology demonstrates synovial lining 1.

The normal bursa is surrounded by fat on either side and can therefore be identified on T1-weighted images as a thin hypointense line between layers of high signal intensity parallel to the posterior facet of the greater trochanter 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: greater trochanter bursitis
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