How to Treat Hip Bursitis

The best treatment for hip bursitis, or any form of bursitis, is aimed at controlling the inflammation caused by this condition. As with any treatment program, always talk with your healthcare provider before initiating any specific treatments.


This usually means a period of time not participating in sports or activities that aggravate your symptoms. As a general rule of thumb, any activity that causes hip bursitis pain should be avoided—this only contributes to inflammation of the bursa.

Modifying the way you perform particular activities can help to alleviate pressure on the inflamed bursa. It may help to work with a physical therapist (PT). A PT is an expert in movement and alignment, and if certain muscles are overused compared to others, this can lead to bad movement patterns and bursa irritation.

Anti-Inflammatory Meds

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, etc.) will help control the inflammation associated with hip bursitis. These medications are helpful for the pain as well as diminishing inflammation.

Oral anti-inflammatory medications can be extremely effective, but they should be taken with caution. Always follow the instructions on the label unless directed otherwise by your healthcare provider.

Keep an eye out for side effects of anti-inflammatory medications, and let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing any of the side effects.


Icing the area of hip bursitis often helps to alleviate the symptoms. Especially after exercise, ice can control inflammation by decreasing blood flow to the area.

Do not apply ice directly to skin—always used a cloth or towel between ice and your skin. Ice should not be left on for more than 15 minutes at a time.


In people who have a significant amount of fluid that has collected within the bursa, a needle can be placed into the bursa to drain the fluid. This is rarely needed in cases of hip bursitis, but when it is done it may be combined with a cortisone injection.

Cortisone Injection

A cortisone injection may also be given into the bursa in people with pain. The cortisone injection is helpful because it can be both diagnostic and therapeutic.

In cases where hip bursitis may be one of several diagnoses being considered, cortisone can be given to see if the shot helps to alleviate symptoms.

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that can be administered directly to the location of the problem. These injections are generally well-tolerated although there are possible side effects of a cortisone injection.

Once the initial symptoms are controlled, some physical therapy strengthening and stretching exercises may be helpful.


Most people find relief with stretching of the muscles and tendons that are found over the outside of the hip, specifically the iliotibial band. The idea is that a better-conditioned muscle and tendon will glide more easily and not cause hip bursitis. Special attention to proper stretching technique is important.

woman stretching on yoga mat
Juri Pozzi/Stocksy United

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist is a useful treatment adjunct for people with hip bursitis. PTs correct muscle imbalances through stretching and exercise. Improving alignment can prevent the bursa irritation from re-occurring.


Surgical treatment for hip bursitis is rarely needed, and most people who are faithful about treatment get better within about six weeks.

People who do not rest from their activities until the inflammation subsides often have a return of hip bursitis symptoms. Also, those who return too aggressively (i.e. not a gradual build-up), may also find that their symptoms return.

In those few cases where surgery is needed, your healthcare provider may recommend an arthroscopic bursectomy. In this minimally invasive procedure, the bursa is removed through a small incision and after a short period of healing, the person returns to normal activity.

The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure, and most often crutches are only used for a few days. People do not need a bursa and therefore there are few complications from this type of surgery. The most common complications are anesthetic-related complications and infection.

A Word From Verywell

Hip bursitis is a common condition that can lead to discomfort along the outside of the hip joint. People with hip bursitis often complain of symptoms of discomfort with physical activity and walking, as well as pain when trying to lie on the affected side at night.

Fortunately, treatment of hip bursitis is generally accomplished with some simple steps. Efforts to limit pressure directly on the bursa, alleviate inflammation, and restore normal movement to the hip joint will generally lead to resolution of symptoms. Rarely are more invasive treatments necessary to alleviate the pain of hip bursitis.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Foran, JRH. Hip bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

  2. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. How can bursitis be treated? 2018.

  3. UCSF Health. Trochanteric bursitis treatments.

By Jonathan Cluett, MD
Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men's and women's national soccer teams.