Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Hip Bursitis: Care Instructions

Main Content

Hip Bursitis: Care Instructions

Hip bones and bursae


Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. A bursa is a small sac of fluid that cushions a joint and helps it move easily. A bursa sits between a bone in the hip and the muscles and tendons in the thigh and buttock. Injury or overuse of the hip can cause bursitis. Activities that can lead to bursitis include twisting and rapid joint movement. Bursitis can cause hip pain.

Bursitis usually gets better if you avoid the activity that caused it. If pain lasts or gets worse despite home treatment, your doctor may draw fluid from the bursa through a needle. This may relieve your pain and help your doctor know if you have an infection. If so, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If you have inflammation only, you may get a corticosteroid shot to reduce swelling and pain. Sometimes surgery is needed to drain or remove the bursa.

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.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • 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.
  • After 3 days of using ice, you may use heat on your hip. You can use a hot water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm, moist towel.
  • Rest your hip. Stop any activities that cause pain. Switch to activities that do not stress your hip.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • To prevent stiffness, gently move the hip joint as much as you can without pain every day. As the pain gets better, keep doing range-of-motion exercises. Ask your doctor for exercises that will make the muscles around the hip joint stronger. Do these as directed.
  • You can slowly return to the activity that caused the pain, but do it with less effort until you can do it without pain or swelling. Be sure to warm up before and stretch after you do the activity.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have increased swelling or redness in your hip.
  • You cannot use your hip, or the pain in your hip gets worse.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have pain for 2 weeks or longer despite home treatment.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter I156 in the search box to learn more about "Hip Bursitis: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.