Calcific bursitis occurs as a result of tiny calcium deposits in the collagen tissue around the hip. The cause is chronic inflammation of the bursae. The bursa is a normal structure. It is a thin sac of tissue that contains fluid to lubricate areas and reduce friction between muscles, tendons, and bones.
The patient reports pain and/or tenderness along the side of the hip. This is the area of the greater trochanter. The greater trochanter is a large bump of bone that juts outward from the top of the femur (thigh bone). Large and important muscles connect to the greater trochanter. Sometimes these muscles are referred to as the rotator cuff of the hip. Chronic tendinitis of the hip rotator cuff can also contribute to this problem.
The calcium deposits are called calcification. They can occur as long as there is inflammation of the bursae (or tendons). The deposits don’t always go away after the inflammation has been taken care of, but the symptoms improve.
Treatment can help to prevent further calcification as well as relieve pain and stiffness. Antiinflammatory drugs, cortisone injections into the bursa, and physical therapy have been shown effective. In rare cases, the inflamed bursa is surgically removed.