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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1976 Aug;57(8):387-90.

Pseudo-radiculopathy in subacute trochanteric bursitis of the subgluteus maximus bursa.


Seventy patients, averaging 82 years of age, were referred for low back pain and/or a suspected herniated disk. Objective neurological deficits consistent with L5 or S1 root involvement were identified in 5 of the 70 patients. Trochanteric bursitis (TB), often mimicking radiculitis, was diagnosed in 31 patients. Trochanteric bursitis was associated with lumbosacral strain and lumbar osteoarthrosis in 21 of 31 patients and with an S1 disk in 1 of those 31 patients. Degenerative joint disease of the ipsilateral hip was present in 4 of 20 of these patients with TB. Six patients with low back pain had both hip and knee arthritis (including two patients with rheumatoid arthritis). Three patients had degenerative hip disease without low back complaints. The remaining patient had TB associated with left hemiparesis. All patients had limitation of lumbosacral motion. Patients with arthritic hips had apparent shortening of the affected leg of one-half inch or greater. Trochanteric bursitis is a common complication of lumbosacral strain, frequently mimicking radiculopathy. Gait alteration associated with back pain or static traction on gluteal musculature during rest therapy may be predisposing factors. The association of TB with hip disease and/or leg length discrepancies was again confirmed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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