Trochanteric bursitis

Dr Tim Luijkx and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Trochanteric bursitis results from the trochanteric bursa becoming irritated.

Previously trochanteric bursitis has been attributed as the major cause of lateral hip pain but now the term greater trochanteric pain syndrome is preferred because most commonly the cause of lateral hip pain is gluteal tendinosis 1, 3.

Affects approximately 6 per 1000 population 1

Patients often present with lateral hip pain that can radiate to the level of the knee. It is often tender to palpation as well, and worsens with the inciting activity. Pain can often be elicited during physical exam with passive external rotation.

These symptoms are nonspecific and may represent other pathology in this region, e.g. gluteal tendinosis, iliotibial band thickening.

Most common causes of trochanteric bursitis are:

  • acute or chronic trauma
  • tendon or muscle tear
  • haematoma
  • arthritis
  • infection
  • T1: corresponding region of low signal
  • T2: bursa is enlarged and of high signal
  • T1 C+ (Gd): peripheral rim enhancement

Trochanteric bursitis is generally self-limiting and responds to conservative treatment. Refractory cases may be treated with corticosteroid injection or surgery 1

  • distal gluteus medius or minimus tear (partial- or full-thickness) or tendinosis
  • iliotibial band thickening
  • soft tissue tumour
  • post-traumatic fluid collection (i.e. haematoma, seroma, lymphocele)
  • Morel-Lavallée lesion
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Article information

rID: 15141
Tags: cases, hip
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Greater trochanteric bursitis

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1
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    Case 2: trochanteric bursitis and abductor tear
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