Iliopsoas Bursitis

Bursitis could be explained as an inflammation of the bursa that is a sac filled with fluid adjacent to the joints that acts like a cushion for the joint.

A bursa is a sac that is filled with lubricating fluid situated between tissues like muscles, tendons, skin and bone that lessens irritation and friction between the tissues. The bursa causes pain in the hip when subjected to continual trauma resulting in swelling and inflammation. This could strongly affect athletes such as runners, footballers and soccer players who frequently put the entire weight of their body on their hips.

The largest bursa of the body is known as iliopsoas bursa which is located between the front side of the joint of the hip and the iliopsoas muscle i.e. a hip flexor. Iliopsoas bursa reduces friction between the iliopsoas muscle and thigh bone. When iliopsoas bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is called as iliopsoas bursitis.


Iliopsoas bursitis is caused due to an overuse injury which results from repetitive rubbing of the iliopsoas tendon. Iliopsoas bursitis is most common in sports, which involve repetitive activities such as swimming and running.

Other causes may include:

  • Iliopsoas tendonitis.
  • Tight hip flexor muscles.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hip problems.
  • Recreational injuries such as ballet, soccer, martial arts and jumping hurdles.
  • Infection of hip bursa.


  • Pain is experienced at the front side of the hip.
  • Radiation of pain into the knee.
  • Tenderness in the upper quads and at the front side of the hip.
  • Radiation of pain into the lower back or buttocks.
  • A snapping sensation at the front of the hip.
  • Pain on resisted hip flexion.
  • Pain on passive hip extension.
  • Stiffness and pain after rest or in the mornings.
  • Aggravation of pain while performing activities.


If the iliopsoas bursa is inflammed, it can be injected with cortisone to decrease the inflammation.  Sometimes the bursa will be drained depending on the size of the effusion. The underlying cause of the bursitis needs to be addressed otherwise there is a possibility fluid will reaccumulate within the bursa.

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