The most common symptom of hip bursitis is hip pain. The pain may be sharp and shooting or a dull ache. When bursitis affects the hip’s trochanteric bursa, pain is felt at the outside of the hip, where the upper thigh curves out. If the hip’s iliopsoas bursa is affected, the pain will be felt in the groin area.
The pain a person experiences—its location, intensity, frequency—will depend on the location and severity of the hip bursitis.
In the absence of a fall or other trauma, the pain from hip bursitis usually appears gradually. Left untreated, the pain will typically increase over time. People also may report:
- Hip tenderness. Pressing on the skin over the outer hip typically causes pain. Similarly, lying down on the affected side and putting weight on the hip may cause a sudden and sharp increase in pain.
- Radiating pain. Initially, the pain may be located primarily at the outside of the lower hip. Over time the pain may radiate down the outside of the thigh or to other points in the body, such as the lower back, buttock, or groin, and may extend down the outside of the thigh towards the knee.
- Pain that is worse with repetitive activity. The pain may intensify after prolonged repetitive hip movements, such as with walking, jogging, or stair climbing.
- Pain that is worse after prolonged inactivity. Most patients describe that the pain is worse after sleeping or after being seated for a while.
- Pain at extreme range of motion. Some patients may experience pain during extreme rotation, hip adduction (using the hip to move the leg past the center midline of the body), or hip abduction (using the hip to move the leg away from the body). When hip bursitis is caused by a tight IT band, adduction can cause pain and abduction can relieve pain,1 particularly during a medical exam in which the doctor moves the patient’s leg (passive motion).
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Swelling and skin redness, which are commonly seen in knee bursitis and elbow bursitis, are less common in hip bursitis, particularly aseptic bursitis. This is because the knee and elbow bursae lie just under the skin, while the hip bursa is located below layers of fat, muscle, and other soft tissues.
See also Hip Pain and Arthritis
Septic Hip Bursitis Symptoms
People who have septic hip bursitis may have the symptoms described above and may also notice:
- Fatigue that does not seem to be related to a lack of sleep
- Sick or fluish feeling (feeling “off”)
- Skin at the hip is warm to touch and red (less common)
Septic hip bursitis calls for prompt medical attention, including treatment with antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection to other points in the body or into the bloodstream.
Read more about Septic Bursitis