Hip Pain in Dancers: Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, which lies over the prominent bone on the side of your hip, and is a common source of leg pain in dancers. The greater trochanter of the femur is a large, flat section of bone that serves to anchor several muscles at the outer hip.

Though the cause of trochanteric bursitis is frequently unknown, in dancers it may occur as a result of direct trauma and falls on the side of the hip.

With repetitive stress on the hip, the bursa will become inflamed and will be continuously aggravated by any activity involving the nearby muscles. Sometimes symptoms of trochanteric bursitis gradually build; other times they occur suddenly.

These symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain occurring over the side of the hip that travels down the thigh and possibly to the knee
  • Pain on the affected hip while sleeping
  • Pain when getting up from a deep chair or after sitting in a car
  • Pain when climbing stairs
  • Increased pain when walking or standing for long periods of time

Your doctor will carefully evaluate your hip and back to help determine if you have trochanteric bursitis. Your medical history may also impact how your physician will proceed with treatments.  Conservative measures are usually sufficient in resolving this condition. A stretching and/or strengthening program can help correct structural or mechanical imbalances, if present. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications can also be helpful in acute cases. Your doctor may recommend bursa injections to decrease inflammation.

Surgery is rare, but it may be prescribed if conservative treatments don’t bring relief. In general, prognosis for full recovery is very good.

Reference: Cleveland Clinic, “Trochanteric Bursitis, 2013. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/trochanteric-bursitis.aspx

Reference: Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, “Common Dance Injuries”. http://hjd.med.nyu.edu/harkness/patients/common-dance-injuries/hip