Where Does it Hurt Series

Ankle/Foot | Back | Elbow | Head/Neck | Hips/Thighs | Knee | Shin/Calf | Shoulder | Wrist/Hand

* Please Note: Below is a listing of some but not all conditions that physical therapists treat. This page is intended for informational purposes only. The information below should in no way be considered complete and in no way should be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or other healthcare provider for more information on the condition that concerns you.


Trochanteric Bursitis

Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning and lubrication between bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. When a bursa becomes inflamed, this is called bursitis. It inhibits movement and causes pain in the afflicted area. Bursitis often affects the joints in your shoulders, elbows, or hips. But you can also have bursitis in your knee, heel, and the bottom of your big toe.

Overuse, stress, and direct trauma to a joint are common causes of bursitis. It can also be a result of an infection, gout, or arthritis. Bursitis of the hip, or trochanteric bursitis, is frequently associated with a hip injury or arthritis. Pressure from standing or sitting for a long time is also a contributing factor.


  • Dull ache in the area around your hip (primarily over the greater trochanter, which is the portion of your thighbone, or femur, that protrudes where the joint meets the hip)
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Increased pain with movement
  • Tenderness
  • Unlike bursitis in other areas of the body, there is no visible swelling or redness of the skin. This is because the bursae are located beneath some of the bulkiest muscles in the body.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The iliotibial (IT) band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. It functions primarily as a stabilizer during running and can become irritated from overuse. It is a common thigh injury mostly associated with running, although it occurs in a variety of people.

One has a greater chance of developing ITBS if they have biomechanical problems. These include unequal leg length and weak hip abductors (the muscles responsible for sideways leg motion). Also, exercising on concrete surfaces or uneven ground, increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise too quickly, wearing worn or ill-fitting shoes, and excessive uphill or downhill running also can contribute to ITBS.


  • Sharp, burning pain on the outside part of the knee or lower thigh, often worsened by going up or down stairs, or getting out of a car
  • Tenderness on the outside of the knee
  • Usually there is no swelling, but the IT band itself may be thickened

Total Hip Replacement

This is a surgery performed to replace all or part of the hip joint with an artificial device (prosthesis). Physical therapy is a necessity after this procedure has been performed in order to regain flexibility and strength in the joint. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint: a meeting of the “ball” end of the thighbone (femur) with the cup-shaped “socket” of the pelvic bone. A total hip prosthesis is surgically implanted to replace the damaged bone in the hip joint.

There are three parts to this prosthesis:

  • A metal or ceramic ball will replace the damaged head of the femur.
  • A plastic cup (sometimes ceramic or metal) replaces the hip socket.
  • A metal stem is attached to the shaft of the femur to provide stability to the prosthesis.

Symptoms that may lead you to consider a hip replacement:

  • Wearing down of the hip joint and pain because of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, injury, and bone tumors
  • Pain that causes sleepless nights
  • Difficulty walking up or down stairs
  • Little or no relief from pain medications
  • Difficulty standing from a seated position
  • Having to stop activities you enjoy, such as walking, because you’re in too much pain