Hip bursitis is called “the great mimicker” because it tends to be mistaken for other related conditions. That’s why an orthopedist must rule out other problems before diagnosing the cause of outer hip pain, like osteoarthritis, tendinitis, snapping hip syndrome, and painful conditions radiating from the lower back. That’s why a combination of diagnostic tools is necessary for your doctor to identify the root cause of your hip pain.

First, your doctor will take a thorough medical history and ask you to describe the onset of your symptoms and how they affect your lifestyle. During a physical exam, they will check the affected hip joint for signs of swelling and tenderness and ask you to perform specific movements to see how they affect your pain level. If it’s unclear whether your symptoms are a result of hip bursitis or something else, your doctor will likely order diagnostic imaging tests.

Medical Imaging to Diagnose Hip Bursitis

Because hip bursitis can be mistaken for many other forms of hip pain, your doctor will likely order medical imaging scans to be certain making a diagnosis.

The following imaging studies can diagnose hip bursitis:

  • X-rays: These help rule out if your hip pain is caused by something like a stress fracture or osteoarthritis.
  • MRI scans: An MRI can confirm or rule out other hip pain-related diagnoses by providing a detailed view of the hip’s soft tissue. Images from the test can show swollen bursae or damaged tendons.
  • Ultrasound: While this isn’t specifically used to diagnose hip bursitis, it can detect excess synovial fluid found in swollen bursae.

Lab Tests May Be Necessary to Diagnose Hip Bursitis

Inflamed bursa may need to be aspirated, especially if your doctor suspects the bursa is infected. A needle and syringe are placed directly into the affected hip bursa to remove fluid for testing under a microscope. This test also can be used as a treatment for hip bursitis, as removing pressure in hip bursa can make you more comfortable.

Other blood tests may be necessary to rule out body-wide inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, which can also cause joint pain and inflammation, and they increase the likelihood of developing bursitis.

Do You Have Hip Pain? Contact OSSWF for an Appointment.

If you have hip pain and swelling, it might go away on its own with rest and activity modification, but it’s best to see a doctor for a diagnosis and proper treatment, which may include aspiration, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and more. Our orthopedists at Fox Valley Orthopedics can help diagnose your hip condition to get your out of pain and back on your feet.

To book an appointment with Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, please call (239) 215-2008.