Can arthritis in the hip cause pain right through the leg to the foot?

Lisbeth Member Posts: 46
edited 4. Dec 2020, 14:47 in Chat to our Helpline Team

I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip, can the pain travel through the leg and into the foot. Last week my foot began to hurt and a few days later I could not walk.

I am now in pain from my hip to my foot and have had to use crutches to get about.

my doctor isn’t seeing patients so I have had to speak to him over the telephone. He doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate the pain I’m experiencing. I live alone so have no help and this flare up has disrupted my life.

im at my wits end. I have no family to ask advice.



  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548

    Hi @Lisbeth - welcome to the online community!

    You have arthritis in your hip and pain in your foot which is causing sever difficulties in walking. Additionally, your GP doesn't seem to be helping.

    Arthritis of the hip can, on occasion, cause pain in your ankle / foot - this is called referred pain. Have a look at the information here which mentions it:

    This sounds like a sever flare up for you - your GP should be helping, at the very least with more painkillers while you have the flare up to help you cope. I'd make an appointment to see (talk to) a different GP - within your same surgery so should be easy - and see if they can help. You can also ask for a referral to a pain clinic and a physio, both of whom are specialists who can give you more help.

    In the meantime, there's some general information on foot and ankle pain here:

    and I'd take a look at the stretching exercises at the bottom of both pages - don't so anything to make the pain worse, but sometimes gentle stretching can help with pain. I'd also see if a heat pad (maybe those wheatgerm ones you can put in the microwave and reuse), hot shower or bath or similar can help with your pain. Do try to get enough sleep as well - pain has a way of getting in the way, so be kind to yourself.

    The community members are lovely, so I'd have a look around and join in other conversations which interest you. It's nice to be able to talk in a place where you know the other people understand the pain you're in.

    Lovely to meet you,


  • Hi Lisbeth,

    Thank you for posting on the Helpline forum. I am sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing in your right hip which is travelling down your leg to your foot and making it difficult to walk. Shell has given some helpful links and suggestions. As she has said, it may be referred pain from the arthritis in your hip. Alternatively, the pain down your leg may be due to sciatica or another cause.

    It sounds as if it would be good to go back to your GP to review your pain medication and explore treatment options. You may wish to try a different GP in the practice, as Shell suggested. You could ask for a referral to a physiotherapist for an assessment and advice about exercise. Eating a healthy balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight helps to put less strain on your joints. Shell also mentioned the Pain Clinic which may be another option to consider in the future, or referral to an orthopaedic specialist. You could discuss this with your GP.

    If you need more help at home, a social services assessment of your care needs may also be worth considering.

    You are welcome to call our Free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 weekdays 9am – 8pm If you would like to talk things through informally and in confidence.

    There is a lot you can do to help manage your symptoms. I hope you find the links to information on our Versus Arthritis website helpful.

    Best wishes,

    Fiona, Helpline Advisor 

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    Hi Lisbeth, yes, I get this a lot. In fact, while the OA in my hip has clearly been building up for many years, it was pains all down my leg that troubled me more than pain in my hip, and they' had been getting progressively worse. The hip was almost painless, despite me finding I was now walking with a bit of a limp for no readily apparent reason.

    While some of the previous pains may have bursitis in my hip and a bit of sciatica, looking back on it I think it was the rumbling of the volcano in my hip. It all came to a head when I had a backwards fall , the pain erupted big time and the xray found the severe OA, which has ramped up like crazy since then. The pains in my leg, right down to my ankle, have at times been worse than the pain in my hip. It comes and subsides, I'd like to say it goes, but it never does. I'm on the list for a new hip now.

    You may find gentle exercises help you, but I find being careful and resting my leg as much as possible for a few days to allow any sudden inflamation to settle down helps, along with a hot wheat bag on my hip. Other than that, strong painkillers are what really keeps me functioning I'm afraid. Any movement at all seems to set it off, but I have a life to live so I take the pills, grab my stick and do the best I can.

    Some private physios are seeing patients now, if you can afford it I'd really recommend it, (most aren't Harley Street prices!) so they can properly assess what your hip can do and give you an exercise programme. They can also make referrals via your GP for further investigation. NHS physios don't seem to have geared themselves up again yet, and even when they have the waiting lists are horrendous.

  • Lisbeth
    Lisbeth Member Posts: 46


    thank you all for your replies, they are reassuring and very helpful.

    I had a discectomy in 2005 after ten months of my GP assuring me that the pain I was experiencing would suddenly disappear. As he is the only doctor in the surgery I was unable to see anyone else.

    I was referred to a physiotherapist a few months ago, by telephone call, he gave me a number to ring to refer myself. I tried ringing numerous times but got no response apart from a voice Mail stating there was a huge demand for the call operators.

    I had one private physiotherapist appointment, he emailed me the result and some exercises. I attempted to do them but I couldn’t get up off the floor.

    The worse thing about being out of action (apart from the pain) is my inability to go to the farm and ride, at the moment I’m not even in a position to go and check them, I’m lucky that they are not in stables or I really would be in trouble.

    The swelling on my foot is just above the arch, it honestly feels like the bone is trying to pop out of my skin. I know I’ve not banged it or twisted over, it’s a complete mystery.

    At the beginning of May I fell and fractured my wrist and in August I fell and had a scare that I had broken my hip, (both falls were due to a sudden searing pain in my groin) Xrays confirmed I had not but I was very lucky according to the doctor at the hospital. It’s since the last fall that things have gotten worse.

    sorry for harping on but it’s like a catalog of events that go back over the past fifteen years so lots of issues I guess.

    thank you all, I am going to check out the links you all supplied but not tonight as I am really tired and finding it difficult to concentrate.

  • Hi Lisbeth

    If you feel you'd like to talk things through, you can ring us on our freephone 0800 5200 520 9am - 8pm Mon-Fri.

    We can give you time to be listened to, and we can then respond with tailored suggestions. Often those conversations can really get to the heart of things and can be very supportive.

    Kind regards

    Guy - Helpline Team

  • Cazbaz
    Cazbaz Member Posts: 71

    Hi Lisbeth, I also get more pain in my leg than in my hip, the pain goes down my thigh into the knee and down into the front and back of my lower leg, I have tried using a heat pad but that seems to make things worse

  • Lisbeth
    Lisbeth Member Posts: 46

    Hi cazbaz

    Thank you for your response to my question, these doesn’t seem to be any reasoning to the pain, it seems to be random. Two weeks ago I had a swelling above the arch of my foot, I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. This week the pain is just the same as you described in your message, it’s as if someone punched me in a muscle leading to this dull ache that’s in both front and back of my leg below the Knee. I try not to complain to my family as it sounds like I’m some kind of hypochondriac with pain in so many different places in my leg.

    Is it even possible that the problem in the hip can actually cause these pains? I hope you are in less pain at the moment.

    many thanks.

  • Hi @Lisbeth

    We understand that you don’t want to complain too much to your family, but it does sound as if things are getting worse.

    I do hope you will consider talking things through with us on helpline. The lines will close at midday tomorrow until 4 January 2021.

    As Guy said, we can listen and provide a more tailored response to help you decide what to do moving forward.

    Kind regards

    Mags - Helpline Team

  • Cazbaz
    Cazbaz Member Posts: 71

    Hi Lisbeth, I’m like you don’t like to keep complaining, I do take painkillers which help the leg pain, it seems worse after I have been standing for a little while , aching and a strange stinging sensation mainly on the shin, it does go after I sit down for a little while, hope you are not in too much pain at the minute

  • Hi Cazbaz

    I was just reading your post to Lisbeth and wanted to let you know, you too are very welcome to give us a call on our helpline: 0800 5200 520 (weekdays 9am – 8pm). Here we can take our time to talk informally and in confidence, offering you a listening ear which can sometimes be helpful.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Team