Physical Therapy for Ischial Tuberosity Bursitis

The ischial tuberosity is a bony area of the pelvis that helps support the body when in a seated position. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac situated between the ischial tuberosity and the tendon of the hamstring muscle. Ischial tuberosity bursitis is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the bursa becomes irritated and inflamed. This condition typically occurs in athletes, especially runners and bicycle riders, and is characterized by pain in the lower buttocks or hip, and hamstring stiffness. Ischial tuberosity bursitis may also be caused by an injury or a fall or certain repetitive motions such as kicking or jumping.

Ischial tuberosity bursitis is diagnosed after a physical examination has helped rule out other conditions, such as sciatica. Conservative treatments, including anti-inflammatory medications, and applications of ice or heat are usually effective for relieving the pain and inflammation caused by this condition. Physical therapy is often a part of the rehabilitation process for ischial tuberosity bursitis and often consists of exercises to strengthen and stretch muscles.

Initial physical therapy treatments may include massage and the application of heat or ice to ease inflammation. The physical therapist may use hands-on stretching techniques as well as tailored exercises to help:

  • Regain range of motion
  • Improve strength and coordination
  • Reduce friction on the bursa

Individuals may be advised to reduce their physical activity while recovering and undergoing physical therapy treatments. A physical therapy regimen for ischial tuberosity bursitis normally lasts for 4 to 6 weeks. Should these treatments fail to relieve pain and restore strength to the hamstring and surrounding muscles, corticosteroid injections may be recommended.

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