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Learning About a Hip Bursa Injection

Location of the bursa at the outside of the hip.

What is a hip bursa injection?

A bursa is a small sac of fluid that cushions an area between tendons and bones. The bursa on the outer side of the hip bone is called the trochanteric (say "TROH-kan-TAIR-ik") bursa. Sometimes it can become swollen and painful. This condition is called bursitis.

An injection into the bursa is a shot of medicine to reduce pain and swelling. The medicines may include pain relievers and steroid medicines. A steroid shot can sometimes help with short-term pain relief when other treatments haven't worked.

How is a hip bursa injection done?

First the area over the bursa will be cleaned. Your doctor may use a tiny needle to numb the skin over the area where you will get the injection.

If a tiny needle is used to numb the area, your doctor will use another needle to inject the medicine. Your doctor may use a pain reliever, a steroid, or both. You may feel some pressure or discomfort.

Your doctor may put ice on the area before you go home.

What can you expect after the injection?

You will probably go home soon after your shot. You may have numbness over your hip for a few hours.

If your shot included both a pain reliever and a steroid, the pain will probably go away right away. But it might come back after a few hours. This might happen if the pain reliever wears off and the steroid has not started to work yet. The steroid medicine generally takes a few days to work.

If the pain comes back, you can put ice or a cold pack on your hip for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Avoid strenuous activities on the day you get the shot, especially those that put stress on your hip.

Steroids don't always work. But when they do, the pain relief can last for several days to a few months or longer.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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