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Hip Int. 2014 Dec 5;24(6):610-5. doi: 10.5301/hipint.5000154. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

Trochanteric bursitis: the last great misnomer.

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1 The Centre for Hip Surgery, Wrightington Hospital, Wigan - UK.


Trochanteric bursitis has been used as a general term to describe pain around the greater trochanteric region of the hip. We hypothesised that trochanteric bursitis may not however have an inflammatory component and that accordingly, bursal inflammation has no role in lateral hip pain. This study was designed to test this hypothesis. Patients undergoing primary total hip replacement were enrolled in this prospective, case-controlled, blinded study. Twenty-five patients who met the criteria for diagnosis of trochanteric bursitis (group A) were matched with a control group of 25 patients (group B). Trochanteric bursal samples were harvested from all patients intraoperatively and sent for histological analysis for the presence of inflammation. The intraoperative appearance of the abductor tendon insertion was also noted. None of the samples showed any evidence of acute or chronic inflammatory changes. Intraoperatively, five patients (20%) in group A were noted to have thinning of the gluteus medius tendon but no macroscopic tendon tears were detected in any bursal samples. This study suggests that there is no inflammatory component to so-called trochanteric bursitis, which accordingly casts doubt on both the terminology and the existence of this condition as a separate clinical entity. Clinicians should search for an alternative cause of symptoms in such cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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