What is Ischial Bursitis?

Bursae are fluid filled sacs that act to reduce friction between bones, tendons and/or muscles surrounding certain joints. The ischial bursa is located between the ischial tuberosity (sitting bone) and the gluteus maximus muscle and can become irritated, inflamed and painful (bursitis) by direct trauma or via hamstring strains.

Patients will present with pain over the buttock and possibly travel down the back of the leg (mimicking sciatic) following prolonged sitting or exercise. Often patients complain of a low-grade aching pain, worsened by sitting down or stretching the gluteus maximus muscle.

This pain may be relieved by actions such as pressing down on a brake pedal when driving, which reduces pressure on the ischial bursa. It is generally accompanied by a history of prolonged sitting on hard surfaces, horse riding or sports that involve repetitive hamstring contraction such as speed walking

Ischial bursitis typically presents with tenderness over the ischial tuberosity region, which may worsen with direct pressure or palpation. Patients might also experience discomfort when climbing stairs, rising from a seated position, or during activities that involve hip extension, such as running or cycling.

In severe cases, the pain associated with ischial bursitis can be debilitating, limiting mobility and impacting daily activities. Diagnosis is primarily clinical, relying on the patient’s history and physical examination findings. Imaging studies such as ultrasound or MRI may be utilised to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other potential causes of hip and buttock pain.

Treatment of ischial bursitis typically involves a combination of rest, activity modification, and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy modalities, including stretching and strengthening exercises targeting the hamstrings and gluteal muscles, may also be beneficial in alleviating symptoms and preventing recurrence.

In addition to addressing the underlying cause of bursitis, such as repetitive trauma or overuse, patient education on proper sitting mechanics, posture, and ergonomics can help prevent recurrence and promote long-term musculoskeletal health. Moreover, implementing cushioning devices or seat modifications can alleviate pressure on the ischial bursa during prolonged sitting, further supporting the healing process.

If you are suffering from Ischial bursitis, we have a team who is ready to help you and get you on the road to recovery. Book an appointment with Precision Health today!

Call us on (02) 9639 7337 or book online.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2018). Ischial Bursitis (Ischio-gluteal Bursitis). In StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482285/#:~:text=Ischial%20bursitis%20(ischio%2Dgluteal%20bursitis,sitting%20for%20a%20long%20time.

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