Trochanteric bursitis is a painful inflammation of the bursa located at the greater trochanter (a large bony prominence on the outside of the hip). Bursae are fluid filled sacks found surrounding the joints of the body which secrete synovial fluid which aid joint movement and health. An increase of pressure to the bursa is a common cause. This may occur from events such as falling on or being hit on the outside of the hip, running (especially cornering without banking) and having inward facing knees (genu valgum). Swelling of the hip is often not observed, but tenderness when pressing into the greater trochanter often elicits pain. The pain may travel down the outside of the thigh to the knee but is often not related to any specific hip movements. People with this condition will usually finding sitting with the leg crossed on the affected side very uncomfortable.
The hip joint is a connection between the thigh bone (femur) and a part of the pelvis known as the ilium. It is a ball-and-socket joint that permits good range of movement with excellent stability. The bony socket (ilium) where the head of the femur attaches has a ring of cartilage called the labrum. The labrum acts to improve congruency (smooth surface contact of the joint surfaces) and to further stabilise the joint. A tear of the labrum can occur from trauma. This could originate from sudden force placed on the joint or can be degenerative as the cartilage begins to thin as we age naturally predisposing it to tears. Unfortunately, the labrum is poorly vascularised (low blood supply) which limits its ability to heal itself. With labral tears feeling of the joint locking or catching momentarily in a certain position is common. Numerous activities, particularly loading through the hip (going up stairs/squatting) may cause pain depending on the location and severity of the tear.