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How to Treat Hip Bursitis Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN March 28, 2022 0 Comments

Tightening Groin Wrap

Proper hip bursitis treatment focuses on reducing the inflammation of the bursa. Bursae (plural form of bursa) are gel-filled sacs found throughout the body in between soft tissues and bones. They protect the joint from the friction created by movement. If you are experiencing hip pain related to bursitis then keep reading to learn more about this condition and how you can treat it at home or with the help of your doctor. 

Home Treatment Options

For the majority of people who have hip bursitis, they are able to treat it in the comfort of their own home. Below are home treatments that you can use to reduce the pain and swelling associated with this condition.

How to Identify Hip Bursitis

Ice and Heat Application

Bursitis of the hip can make just about any activity that involves movement painful. Placing an ice pack on the outside of the hip for 20 minutes at a time can help numb the pain and reduce any swelling in the affected area. Additionally, heat can be used to loosen tight muscles and soothe soreness. We recommend starting off with ice, especially if there is visible swelling. While heat can be relaxing, the warmth will encourage blood flow to the area and can increase swelling. Avoid keeping ice and heat on your skin for long periods of time to prevent skin injury.

Hip Stretches and Exercises

People with hip bursitis can find pain relief with stretching and exercise. Stretching will loosen the muscles around the hip, particularly the ones over the hip. Over time you will improve your range of motion and flexibility. Exercising will strengthen the surrounding hip muscles, legs, and lower back which can support the hip joint. Take it slowly, and stop if you feel sharp pain.

Effective Hip Bursitis Stretches and Exercises

Exercises You Should Avoid with Hip Bursitis

Over the Counter Medication

Oral over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are generally considered safe medications that reduce pain and inflammation within the body. They can help you take the edge off of the pain which can allow you to move more comfortably. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you take a new medication to avoid any unintended side effects.

Assistive Devices

Joint pain can make it hard to walk. If you cannot stay off of your feet and need help getting around try using an assistive device like a walking cane or forearm crutches. These devices may be helpful for those who have had a hip injury and need to take the pressure off of the affected side. Combined with other home treatments, assistive devices are a viable option for those with bursitis of the hip.    

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is professionally trained to evaluate and treat a variety of medical conditions, including hip bursitis. They will determine a series of exercises, stretches, and movement modifications to improve your pain and lessen the stress on your hip. These changes can also improve alignment, which will prevent further irritation of the hip bursa. After your physical therapy appointment, you will be given instructions on how to continue at home therapy.

Other Treatment Options for Hip Bursitis

When home treatment is not enough to eliminate hip bursitis then it’s time to consider medical treatment options. Follow the medical advice of your doctor for the best outcomes.

Cortisone Injection

A cortisone injection is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that is injected directly into the bursa. The medication can reduce pain and swelling right at the site of the irritation. Relief can be either temporary or permanent. If the pain does return you can have repeated cortisone injections but your doctor will likely have a limit on how many are safe for your situation.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy uses sound waves to encourage the rebuilding of cells. This stimulates the body’s own healing process and can break down damaged tissue and calcifications in the affected area. Your doctor and physical therapist can discuss the specifics of how this treatment can be used for your hip bursitis pain.


Hip surgery is reserved for people who do not find relief from other treatments. Your surgeon will perform a physical exam of the area and may order diagnostic imaging like an x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once your surgeon has all the information he or she needs they will discuss the benefits and risks of surgery. The most common surgery for hip bursitis is arthroscopic removal of the bursa. It is a less invasive surgery that can be done on an outpatient basis.

How to Prevent Hip Bursitis

While you may never be able to completely prevent hip bursitis, there are multiple strategies you can implement to decrease the likelihood of developing this condition. Check them out below.

Correct Exercise Technique

Avoid strenuous movements that place excess strain and stress on your hips. Make sure to maintain proper form when exercising, don’t sacrifice form for longer workouts. Certain exercises like running, weight lifting, and cycling should be avoided until you are pain free.

Here is a full list of exercises to avoid


There are multiple causes of hip bursitis. Uneven leg length, scoliosis, overuse, and repetitive motion to name a few. Taking care of your feet with orthotics can take some of the stress off of your hips. All of your joints, from your ankles up to your spine are connected and when one is out of alignment it can affect the others. Talk to your doctor or a chiropractor to determine if you need a specific orthotic for your imbalance.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your hip pain. Here is a list of changes you should consider making.

  • Lose weight if necessary
  • Avoid high-impact activities
  • Avoid squatting
  • Stop if you are experiencing pain
  • Correct conditions that place stress on your hips (uneven leg length and scoliosis)
  • Warm up before exercise and cool down after

Choosing the Right Treatment for You

Hip bursitis can be a painful condition that affects your everyday life. Thankfully, the condition is often successfully treated at home with simple remedies. If you find that home treatment is not enough then medical treatment may be necessary. Always talk to your doctor before you begin treatment to develop a plan that is specific to your situation.


Products for Hip Pain


Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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