Trochanter Roll | Definition, Purpose and Placement

The trochanter is a part of the femur bone, a necessary attachment for several muscles surrounding the hip, thighs, pelvis, and glutenous maximum regions.

As a result, it is integral in attaching muscles between the hip and femur.

Damaging the trochanter will significantly impede an individual’s mobility and health if an injury occurs.

A trochanter roll often refers to a cylindrical prop such as a rolled-up towel, foam roll, cylindrical cushion/pillow, or rolled-up blanket/linen.

The cylindrical prop is positioned around an individual’s lateral hip/thigh area to support the hip/leg regions.

It also prevents the legs from rolling outwards.

Purpose of the Trochanter Roll

The purpose of a trochanter roll is to keep a patient’s hips/legs adequately aligned when the body cannot support itself without causing further injury.

A patient could suffer from additional medical issues without proper alignment and support.

It includes contractures (shortening and hardening of the muscles), deformation, physical discomfort, tendon damage, and other ailments.

Medical specialists may utilize the trochanter roll when a patient receives surgery or becomes immobilized due to an injury.

It also benefits individuals with muscle weakness, hip dislocation, or paralysis.

Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers commonly use the previously mentioned props to perform the trochanter roll.

It enables them to treat patients with specific injuries or medical issues in and around the hip area.

Performing The Trochanter Roll

Healthcare professionals must consider several things for maximum effectiveness and patient comfort when placing a trochanter roll.

If a patient is not already lying in the proper position before applying a trochanter roll, a healthcare professional may place them into a supine or recumbent position.

This position enables the patient to lie flat on their back.

The healthcare professional places the trochanter roll on the sides of the hips from the ilium to the mid-thigh area.

It helps keep the hips/legs in place and prevents them from rolling outward as the patient is lying down.

The healthcare professionals may rotate the injured leg slightly inward to prevent external rotation.

The spine is aligned straight with the head and in a neutral position.

However, some professionals may elevate the spine with a pillow for better alignment.

The arms may rest along the body’s sides or support them with pillows.

In some cases, the arms are rested on the stomach/chest area or placed in another position for better comfort.

For mobile individuals who are relatively recovered or dealing with less severe circumstances, a trochanter belt may improve stability and minimize ligament sensitivity as the individual walks and moves around.

Parts of the Trochanter and Femur

The trochanter is part of the femur and comprises several parts.

It includes the lesser trochanter, intertrochanteric crest, and greater trochanter.

In addition, the femur comprises the linea aspera, pectineal line, gluteal tuberosity, neck, and head.

The femur supports the body’s weight, provides stability, and connects several essential body segments.

It links the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the hips and knees to the rest of the body.

As a result, it’s essential for enabling movement of the legs and hips.

Parts of the Femur Bone:

  • Lessor trochanter
  • Intertrochanteric crest
  • Greater trochanter
  • Linea aspera
  • Pectineal line
  • Gluteal tuberosity
  • Neck
  • Head

Trochanter and Femur Injuries

The femur and trochanter can experience injuries like femur fractures and trochanter bursitis.

These injuries can become significantly worse if left untreated leading to physical pain, joint damage, and mobility issues.

As a result, individuals with these injuries must receive proper care from a medical professional.

Trochanter Bursitis

Trochanter bursitis results from inflammation of the bursa.

This inflammation occurs when the bursa becomes irritated or inflamed due to an injury, joint overuse, severe stress, or posture issues.

It also results from diseases and hip bone spurs or calcium deposits.

Over time the inflammation can worsen leading to significant pain and mobility issues.

Minimizing trochanter bursitis requires receiving adequate rest, not overstressing the joints, and allowing previous injuries to fully heal.

It’s also important to maintain good posture and movements when exercising or performing physical activities.

In the event of an injury, it is vital to minimize repetitive movements, keep the weight off the injury, rest, and seek medical assistance.

Sometimes corticosteroid injection, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or physical therapy is necessary to assist with recovery.

In the worst cases, surgery may be recommended or required to improve/reverse the condition.

Femur Injuries

The femur is one of the strongest bones in the body.

Nevertheless, injuries due occur and can cause severe issues if left untreated.

Femur injuries result from physical trauma, high-impact accidents, sports injuries, and falls.

It may also occur from pre-existing bone diseases that weaken the bones, allowing for easier and more frequent injuries.

Some common bone diseases and ailments include bone cysts, Paget disease, osteoporosis, and tumors.

When an individual experiences a femur injury several common symptoms typically occur.

Symptoms include swelling, severe pain, physical deformity, and a loss of movement, including the ability to walk.

In the event of an injury, individuals must take the weight off the femur, get adequate rest, use proper medication, and support it properly.

It’s also vital that individuals receive immediate medical care to treat their injury and prevent further damage.

Treating the femur without proper medical support can lead to long-term or lifelong health and mobility issues.

Trochanter Rehabilitation

Those with mild trochanter ailments may participate in a rehabilitation program to improve their condition.

The rehabilitation program includes various exercises, stretching, and heat therapy.

Hip exercises can help improve one’s physical condition and protect against potential injuries for individuals not suffering from ailments.

Aside from a trochanter roll, a healthcare professional may also use props such as a pillow, hand-roll, foot-board, or foot-splint to assist patients with other ailments or multiple medical issues.


The trochanter plays an essential function in supporting the hip, thighs, pelvis, and glutenous maximum regions.

As a result, medical specialists utilize a trochanter roll when providing medical care to ensure patients receive adequate support and comfort.

It enables them to perform various procedures and properly align the body when a patient is immobile due to an injury.

Without a proper trochanter roll and positioning the patient correctly they would experience unnecessary discomfort.

Medical professionals may also have more difficulty performing certain procedures due to improper patient positioning.

Therefore, the trochanter roll is a vital tool for keeping patients comfortable and making procedures easier to perform.