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Efficacy of Treatment of Trochanteric Bursitis: A Systematic Review

Lustenberger, David P BS*; Ng, Vincent Y MD*; Best, Thomas M MD, PhD; Ellis, Thomas J MD*

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2011 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 447-453
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318221299c
Critical Review
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Objective: Trochanteric bursitis (TB) is a self-limiting disorder in the majority of patients and typically responds to conservative measures. However, multiple courses of nonoperative treatment or surgical intervention may be necessary in refractory cases. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment of TB.

Data Sources: A literature search in the PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and ISI Web of Knowledge databases was performed for all English language studies up to April 2010. Terms combined in a Boolean search were greater trochanteric pain syndrome, trochanteric bursitis, trochanteric, bursitis, surgery, therapy, drug therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation, injection, Z-plasty, Z-lengthening, aspiration, bursectomy, bursoscopy, osteotomy, and tendon repair.

Study Selection: All studies directly involving the treatment of TB were reviewed by 2 authors and selected for further analysis. Expert opinion and review articles were excluded, as well as case series with fewer than 5 patients. Twenty-four articles were identified. According to the system described by Wright et al, 2 studies, each with multiple arms, qualified as level I evidence, 1 as level II, 1 as level III, and the rest as level IV. More than 950 cases were included.

Data Extraction: The authors extracted data regarding the type of intervention, level of evidence, mean age of patients, patient gender, number of hips in the study, symptom duration before the study, mean number of injections before the study, prior hip surgeries, patient satisfaction, length of follow-up, baseline scores, and follow-up scores for the visual analog scale (VAS) and Harris Hip Scores (HHS).

Data Synthesis: Symptom resolution and the ability to return to activity ranged from 49% to 100% with corticosteroid injection as the primary treatment modality with and without multimodal conservative therapy. Two comparative studies (levels II and III) found low-energy shock-wave therapy (SWT) to be superior to other nonoperative modalities. Multiple surgical options for persistent TB have been reported, including bursectomy (n = 2), longitudinal release of the iliotibial band (n = 2), proximal or distal Z-plasty (n = 4), osteotomy (n = 1), and repair of gluteus medius tears (n = 4).

Conclusions: Efficacy among surgical techniques varied depending on the clinical outcome measure, but all were superior to corticosteroid therapy and physical therapy according to the VAS and HHS in both comparison studies and between studies. This systematic review found that traditional nonoperative treatment helped most patients, SWT was a good alternative, and surgery was effective in refractory cases.

From the *Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; and †Department of Family Medicine, The Ohio State University Sports Medicine Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Submitted for publication July 29, 2010; accepted April 24, 2011.

No financial support was received for this study.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Corresponding Author: Thomas J. Ellis, MD, Department of Orthopaedics, The Ohio State University, 2050 Kenny Rd, Columbus, OH 43221 (thomas.ellis@osumc.edu).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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