Which physical findings are characteristic of greater trochanter bursitis?

Updated: Dec 11, 2020
  • Author: Kristine M Lohr, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Patients with greater trochanter bursitis are predominately women (male-to-female ratio, 1:2-4) in their fourth to sixth decade of life. Runners and ballet dancers may develop deep trochanteric bursitis from overuse injury. The disease is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis of the hips, osteoarthritis of the hips, lumbosacral disease, and leg-length discrepancies.

Patients experience chronic, intermittent, aching pain over the lateral hip. In 40% of cases, this radiates down to the lateral thigh. Walking or lying on the affected side exacerbates the pain. In the seated position, local tenderness is present over the greater trochanter or more posteriorly for deep bursa.

Pain can be reproduced by hip adduction (superficial bursitis) or resisted active abduction (deep bursitis). More than one half of patients have pain on Patrick-Fabere testing (sequential flexion, abduction, external rotation, extension of the hip with the contralateral knee flexed). Range of motion of the hip joint itself should not be affected.

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