If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your hip, you may have been told that you are suffering from ‘bursitis’.

This is the term given to pain caused by irritation of the bursa, a fluid filled sac that sits on the outside of your hip between the tendons of your buttock muscles and the place where they attached to your thigh bone:

Woman with hip pain and bursitis

Traditionally pain felt over the outer hip is often diagnosed as ‘bursitis’ but it’s actually far more common for the pain to be coming from tendons of the buttock muscle themselves.

This is a condition called gluteal tendinopathy, where accumulative strain builds up overtime in the tendons until the outer hip becomes painful.

If you are experiencing discomfort on the outside of your hip that has come on over time and causes pain on walking, climbing stairs, standing, siting with your legs crossed or sleeping on your side then it’s likely that you have gluteal tendinopathy. That said, it’s possible to experience both tendinopathy and bursitis of the hip at the same time. Fortunately the advice and exercises are the same for both conditions.

Advice for hip pain from gluteal tendinopathy or bursitis  

 

  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed or sitting with your knees higher than your hips.
  • Try to stand with equal weight going through both legs, rather than leaning on one side.
  • Sleep on your unaffected side with one or two cushions under your top leg to stop it dropping forwards.
  • Do not try to stretch your hip, this will make your symptoms worse.

Exercises for hip pain from gluteal tendinopathy or bursitis

 

1. Isometric Clam

Physio exercise for hip pain and bursitis

  • Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees.
  • Gently relieve the pressure of your top leg from the pillow – imagine you are about to lift your leg up but do not actually lift it fully, your leg should remain in contact with the pillow. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat a sufficient number of times to reach 2 minutes in total.

2. Isometric hip press

Hip exercise for pain and bursitis from a Physiotherapist

  • Lie on your back with a couple of pillows under your knees, legs hip width apart. Tie a belt around your knees. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat a sufficient number of times to reach 2 minutes in total.

3. Standing isometric buttock squeeze

Standing isometric exercise for the buttock muscles and hips

  • Stand with your legs slightly apart, feet pointing forwards. Push the ground away trying to push out through your heels, you should not actually move your feet. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat a sufficient number of times to reach 2 minutes in total.

Repeat Exercises 1-3 at frequent intervals during the day to relieve pain.

4. Bridge

Exercise to relieve hip pain and bursitis

  • Breathe out and scoop your tailbone upwards, flattening your lower back into the floor. Continue to lift your hips, peeling your spine, bone by bone, up off the mat.
  • Breathe in to hold the bridge and breathe out to lower your spine again like a string of pearls.

A few precautions …

There are other conditions that can also cause pain on the outside of your hip including arthritis, stress fracture and piriformis syndrome.

A comprehensive examination can rule out these conditions and look for any underlying cases such as difference in the length of your legs, unusual walking patterns or muscles weakness to make sure your symptoms get better and stay that way.

As always, please call us for any advice!

The Physiofit Team.