Low prevalence of trochanteric bursitis in patients with refractory lateral hip pain

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INTRODUCTION: Bursitis at the greater trochanter has historically been identified as a major pain generator in patients with lateral hip pain (LHP). We believe that hip abductor tendon pathology (HATP) plays an important and overlooked role in LHP. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the presence of isolated trochanteric bursitis on MRI in patients with refractory LHP.

METHODS: The MRIs of 120 patients with LHP (94% women, median age 54 years) performed at our orthopaedic outpatient clinic between 2017 and 2020 were evaluated by two raters for trochanter-related pathologies, including HATP and bursitis.

RESULTS: Two (2%) patients were registered with greater trochanteric bursitis with no relevant HATP, 30 (25%) patients had elements of inflammation (high-intensity signals) in the greater trochanteric bursa with relevant HATP. Five (4%) patients had relevant HATP with bursitis in the sub-gluteus minimus bursa with no bursitis in the greater trochanteric bursa. The remaining 83 (69%) patients had no sign of trochanter-related bursitis.

CONCLUSION: Isolated trochanteric bursitis as the cause of refractory LHP appears to be rare. We believe that the presence of HATP in LHP has been severely underestimated and a shift in focus towards treatment of these structures is necessary.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: According to current national legislation, no formal ethical approval was required for this study. The National Data Protection Agency approved the study (1-16-02-124-19).

TidsskriftDanish Medical Journal
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2022

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