Hip bursitis and tight ITB

Hi All,

I was diagnosed approx. 2 months ago by the physios at my local hospital as having the above.  Since then its not got any better.  So far they've tried stretches, ice, stretches, sound wave therapy? and more stretches.  None of this has helped at all. 


My question is - how long should I fairly give the physio before going back to my GP and asking for cortisol injections?  I've heard nothing but good about them and I'm raring to get training for the Brighton Marathon next year and don't have time to waste if the physio isn't going to help.




  • Do you have a programme of rehab exercises. I have had ITB on and off (from before I took up running). Stretching helped to ease the pain, but it was a strengthening programme that addressed the underlying cause. The Physio provided this
  • I wouldn't call it a programme as such, she doesn't seem, to me, to know what to do with me and tries another of couple of things each time I go but to no avail

  • I'm definitely no medical expert, but from personal experience....

    I suppose you might have a knot/spasm in one of the muscles that attaches to the ITB - ie TFL or glutes.  Try pressing around the area around your hip, but slightly higher and a bit to the front (TFL) and also a bit to the back (glutes).  (But definitely avoiding the boney are where your leg joins the hip, and the area sore from the bursitis.)  If some of the muscle seems sore then you may find some relief from pressing there reasonably hard, eg by pressing with a tennis ball for perhaps a minute.  If this is one of the reasons the ITB related pain hasn't gone away yet, I guess you'd probably take a few days at least to get the TFL or glutes to relax a bit.  Stretching might not be doing that much if the TFL or glutes have a knot in.

    And unfortunately getting rid of the initial ITB pain is one thing but I guess many find it even harder trying to work out why they got the pain in the first place and stopping getting it again as they build up the milage.

  • I forgot to say, I've also been using the foam roller and a rolling pin and its agony to do and doesn't get any easier

  • Acupuncture worked wonders for me when I had both


  • over the last few years i have had bursitis in both hips, seperately and at times together;  and have had injections in both hips, over a year,which have been successful in varying degrees.

    i went for physio once and was given stretching exercises which helped, but the pain was effecting sitting, sleeping, s**, walking, etc etc so i also started the injections, once every 3 months.

    i have also tried one of the 'sound' therapies (cant remember which) and had heat treatment, but the injections, together with getting fitter, is what did best for me.

    if i seek out the sore points on each side, i can still find them, but they do not hurt at all unless i manage to bash my side somehow, and at one point even moving my hand over my hips in the shower was painful.

    so i'd say, keep up the stretching but watch out for anything too strenuous using those joints, and ask for the injection.

    good luck

  • Get a decent sports massage. ITBS has pulled me up twice, and each time a "massage" put me in agony for half an hour but let me run just fine the day after.

  • The physio massaged me Pethead and yes, it hurt like blazes but she only did it the once and then when I went the next time and told her it still hurt she stopped doing it.

    Sarah - where did you get the injections done was it at the hospital or at your GP's?

    I really do feel that she doesn't really know what to do with me and just tries something a couple of times and then its on to the next thing - I don't have much confidence in this working anymore.


  • Pethead wrote (see)

    Get a decent sports massage. ITBS has pulled me up twice, and each time a "massage" put me in agony for half an hour but let me run just fine the day after.

    Agree 100%. Over the years I have struggled with various injuries and various physio treatments, exercises, stretches etc. For the first time at the start of this year I found myself a good physio who does deep tissue and sports massage and it's been nothing short of a miracle. Sorted out a long standing (10 years+) shoulder problem and eased off a whole pile of other minor strains and niggles.

    6th June I suffered acute hip bursitis that left me barely able to walk for the next week never mind run. One half hour session of massage on the problem bit - tight ITB and pulled psoas - and two weeks later it was completely gone. 1st July I bashed round a hilly off road marathon with no problems at all.

    Cost is £45 per hour and I think it's worth every penny. I now go for 'maintenance' work every couple of months, usually before a big race. Really makes a huge difference to how I feel... image

  • A lot of sports massage is meant to be uncomfortable, maybe even painful, no matter whether it's treating a specific injury or not.

  • morning surreychick,

    as pethead says above, sports massage will be uncomfortable or even painful, i was a qualified therapist and it was very satisfying to give someone a sports massage.

    for me, cos working on a body with MUSCLES rather than not . . .  (enough said) and for the client, tho painful, the relief afterwards and the release of tension was fantastic.

    (sadly i cannot practice any more due to fingers giving out)

    i would go for sports massage even if not training! its painful but so satisfying. but it doesnt cure everything, some areas when inflamed should NOT be massaged.

    the injections in my bursitis (hip joint pain/trochanteric bursitis) were referred by gp to an orthopaedic chap; the recent one into my heel was via one gp who didnt do them to another gp in my own surgery.

    the other thing, the physio you went to, if she was thru your gp referral, MAY feel unable to push you thru the pain barrier during massage, i say MAY cos i dont know how nhs therapists work with referred patients.

    a qualified private therapist MAY feel more confident that, in order to give you the full benefit of treatment they should talk you thru pain management during the treatment, in order to get you thru it. its a trust thing.

    good luck

  • Six PhysioSix Physio ✭✭✭

    Lots of good advice above...

    If you don't know what's causing it, despite what you do, it will return.

    Stretching is great for easing symptoms and as AB2 says if something is tight then it's equal and opposite muscle is not doing what it should be doing. This is where you need to gain stability - control of what you do (rather than strength).

    Massage should never be that painful - it's trying to promote healing not destroy tissue.

    In really recalcitrant ITB issues, there is always an issue with your back too....

  • you're right six physio,

    i didn't intend it to sound like sports massage should be REALLY painful, but as you know, it certainly isn't a relaxing time on many occasions!

    i was thinking about the identification and attention to knots and granules . .

  • I have had sports massages in the past on my calves and it was very painful but I do have a low pain tolerance anyway.  I've made an appointment to see my GP tomorrow (who is also a runner) and am going to ask for the cortisol injections.  Its been 5 months now I've been in pain and nothing is improving it.  The cause of it the physio thinks is two things - training for the Brighton Half which I did in February and a change in shoes a week later which she said may have changed my biomechanics.  I have been doing the stretching and it really hasn't worked - if anything the pain is getting worse, especially over this past weekend.  If nothing else I'm absolutely sick to death of having to lie on my right in bed, I'm getting a sore right ear now image.  Anyway, I'll see what my GP says tomorrow and if she says no to the cortsiol I will look to get a few sports massages and see if they give any improvement.

  • Six PhysioSix Physio ✭✭✭
    ....make sure you get cortisone not cortisol. Keep that nasty stress at bay...

  • doh - yes, I'll be sure to do that image.  Anyway she agreed to me having them.  Having the first one next Monday morning image.

  • good luck surreychick, i hope you get as good as or better results than i.

    i am almost completely pain free during my 2mile walk to work, post heel injection.

  • Thanks Sarah, I hope so too.  I'm getting ear pain now from lying on my right all the time image

  • Hi Surreychick, I know this is an old thread but have you now recovered?  Did the injections work?

    My reason for interest is that I've had a snapping issue with my hip for months and have finally been referred for an ultrasound and injection.  Apparantly I won't be able to drive afterwards... However I have a 10K race 3 days afterwards...do you think it will be ok to run by then?



  • Hi Sue

    I did eventually recover but it got worse for a couple of weeks after the injections so personally I couldn't have run a 10k so soon after but who knows, your body may be different and I don't know what the norm is on these things but it was definitately at least 2-3 weeks before I felt an improvement because at one point I remember thinking it hadn't worked and that maybe I'd have to go back for more.  Good luck, hope they work quicker for you.  Sue (yes, my name too LOL).

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