Hip Bursitis – How Orthotic Therapy Can Help.

Hip Bursitis. If you’ve experienced it, or know anyone who is experiencing it, you know how much it can affect everyday life. Tasks that were once simple, like rising from a sitting position, getting in or out of the car or just walking for daily activities like grocery shopping can be something that now is associated with fear and pain.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The thing is, these days, conditions like hip bursitis are very well understood. We now have decades worth of research and multiple treatment options available to offer help like we’ve never had before. Luckily for us, in the developed world these treatment options are readily accessible and can be claimed through private health insurance.

Sadly, this information is not common knowledge for the person experiencing hip bursitis and as a practitioner who has experienced chronic hip pain and hip bursitis that coincided with another hip condition, I know just how painful and disheartening hip pain can actually be.

If you want to know the basics about hip bursitis, such as:
– What is hip bursitis?
– What causes hip bursitis?
– What are the symptoms of hip bursitis?
– How is hip bursitis diagnosed?
– Who gets hip bursitis?
– What are the treatment options for hip bursitis?

Then please read the resource I have created here:

If you are unfamiliar with the basics about hip bursitis, I recommend you read this resource before you read on.

Specifically, this resource has been created for hip bursitis and how orthotics can help and if you’re reading this you might have noticed that people with hip bursitis will often say:

– I can’t walk beyond certain distances without pain (eg. I can’t walk for more than 5 minutes)
– I need to me mindful of how fast I walk to manage/ reduce the pain
– I’ve noticed/ people tell me that I limp when I walk
– I also experience pain in other areas, such as my foot, ankle, knee or back

This is because hip bursitis is not just a hip problem. There is a strong relationship with the functioning of the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip and the back when a person is walking.

This is why a person with hip bursitis will know that the type of shoe they are wearing and the type of surface they are walking on (ie. flat ground, uneven/ tilted road) can have an enormous impact on hip pain and function.

With the available research we have today, I’m still astounded at the people I regularly meet who are experiencing hip bursitis who have only ever explored injection therapies (most commonly cortisone injections) or hip focussed rehabilitation (exercises for the hip). Although both cortisone injections and hip focussed rehabilitation can significantly impact pain and function, if the causes of the hip bursitis are not considered, these treatment options often reduce pain while the client is actively engaging in treatment and require course of therapy after course of therapy without a long term resolution.

How can Orthotic Therapy help Hip Bursitis?

Note: Orthotic therapy is certainly NOT a ‘Magic Bullet’ that will take all cases of hip bursitis away.

However, orthotic therapy can be used to achieve a change in load and capacity and both of these factors are critical to consider in cases of hip bursitis for an effective recovery.

So what do these terms mean?

 Load – the amount of load (stress) applied to the body (in this case, the painful hip/s) 

Capacity – the capacity (ability/ strength) of the body (in this case, the hip/s)

Both load and capacity are interrelated. For example: 

  • As load increases, the capacity of the body is challenged and may not be high enough to tolerate the load. 
  • If capacity increases, the tolerance to load also increases.

So if problems with load or capacity have the potential to lead to injury or pain, then why are orthotics so important for hip bursitis?  

Simply put, for an activity such as walking, the use of orthotic therapy has the potential to simultaneously reduce load at the affected hip while increasing the capacity of the person to walk.

More specifically, in relation to gait (walking), a person’s biomechanics (particular and repetitive movement) affects load and capacity.

Quite often, people who are experiencing hip bursitis will walk in a movement pattern that has a repetitive load that is above the capacity of the hip/s and it is unlikely a long term resolution for hip bursitis will occur until this is addressed. 

Orthotics are an important treatment consideration for hip bursitis because orthotic therapy has the potential to simultaneously reduce load and increase capacity to significantly and quickly reduce pain. This is exactly why orthotic therapy is often recommended for people in any form of lower limb pain including foot, ankle, leg, and hip pain and especially in cases of hip bursitis. 

For people who want to return to walking longer distances and enjoy being active again, a strength and conditioning program (exercises) for muscles in the feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips and core (including the back) are recommended alongside orthotic therapy.

Adjunctive therapies, such as injection therapies may be considered to increase rate of recovery, however more often than not because the causes of the hip bursitis have been addressed, they are simply not required.

Written by:
Daniel Monteleone
Podiatrist / Strength & Conditioning Coach

Foot & Ankle Pain, hip pain, Podiatry
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