Hip tendonitis and bursitis

man with hurt hip

​​​​​​Tendons connect muscles to bones. When these strong cords of tissue become inflamed in your hip, it causes discomfort, swelling and pain. 

Tendonitis is typically caused by injury, strain or overuse—including too much exercise. Hip tendonitis can also indicate a bigger health problem such as diabetes, infection or rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to make an appointment with your physician if you are suffering from tendon pain in your hip. 

Bursae are small, fluid-filled pads between the joints. They serve as a cushion between the bones, tendons and muscles. When bursae become inflamed, a painful condition called bursitis occurs. Bursitis most commonly occurs in the hip, shoulder and elbow—joints that frequently perform repetitive motion. 

Hip tendonitis and bursitis symptoms 

Signs of tendonitis or bursitis in the hip may include: 

  • Grating joint—a feeling of grating or grinding while the hip joint moves.

  • Pain—localized to hip area; pain or throbbing while moving the tendons surrounding the hip. 

  • Stiffness—both during normal activities and at rest. 

  • Swelling—fluid and inflammation in the joint or tendon. 

  • Tenderness—localized to hip area. 

Hip tendonitis and bursitis diagnosis  

Experts at The Christ Hospital Health Network know you want to get back to your active lifestyle. During your visit, a physician reviews your health history and conducts an exam. 

If more information is needed to diagnose the source of your hip pain, your doctor may order the following tests: 

  • Aspiration—a procedure that uses a needle and syringe to remove fluid from the space around a joint.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—uses a magnet, radio frequencies and computer to create images of the hip. 

  • X-rays—invisible electromagnetic energy beams that make images of the hop and its surrounding soft tissues. Your doctor will order this test to check for arthritis. Tendons are not visible on X-rays, but any bone damage caused by arthritis will be seen. 

Hip tendonitis and bursitis treatment 

Your doctor may prescribe any of the following options to help treat your tendonitis and get you back to your best self. 

Treatment for hip tendonitis is focused on reducing pain and inflammation and may include:

  • Cortisone injections—an anti-inflammatory steroid injected into the hip joint to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Modification of activities 

  • Physical therapy—exercises to strengthen and regain range of motion in the affected area.  

  • RICE method—rest, ice, compression and elevation

  • Surgery (rare) 

  • Topical anti-inflammatory gels 

  • Treatment for hip bursitis can include: 

  • Antibiotics—your physician may prescribe an antibiotic for bursitis that is caused by an infection. 

  • Cortisone injections—an anti-inflammatory steroid is injected into the bursae to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Physical therapy—exercises to strengthen and regain range of motion in the affected area. 

  • Surgery—to drain the bursae. 

  • Therapeutic contrasting—quickly changing tissue temperature from hot to cold and back again using ice packs and heating pads.

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we have the experience and skill it takes to treat tendonitis and bursitis of the hip, so you can get back to your favorite activities.

Find a hip specialist near you.