Arthritis or something else?

Mid February I started having a pain in my left butt. I am a female, 66 yrs old and very physically active and have been all my life. After about a week (no exercise) the pain started in my left groin area. Iced and ibuprofen were what I used. Occasionally when I would overwork in the yard I would have a hitch in left side, but nothing like this. It then started pulsation from groin to knee, then need to ankle. More like tingling those places versus pain. I then went to the Ortho Dr. that could fit me in and he said I have arthritis of the hip and gave me a cortisone shot in the groin and prescription for Meloxicam and take tylenol for pain. I still am having these symptoms and will probably need to go back to Dr. I just thought it so strange that the onset would develop suddenly for this length of time. I guess I wonder if there could be something else, like something sitting on a a nerve, etc. That is why I am searching for any answers or suggestions. Thank whoever.


  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Administrator Posts: 872

    Hello @Believer81 and welcome to the forum, we are a friendly and supportive group of people.

    I can see that you have pain in your hip which was diagnosed as arthritis in the hip and gave you an injection and Meloxicam and tylenol prescriptions. If you are still having symptoms then it is best you go back to your doctor and try and get more tests done to make sure that the diagnosis is correct. In the meantime our website contains a lot of information which I hope you will find useful. Here are a couple of links to info within it you might find of interest and help.

    Please do keep posting and let us know how you get on and I am sure others will post and share their experiences with you.

    With very best wishes

    Peter (mos)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    Hello @Believer81 I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis and discomfort.

    If it helps, my story was pretty similar, 61 reasonably healthy, fit and active' but with random pains down one leg. My physio suspected was arthritis but we tried a load of other treatments as well, including sciatica and bursitis, some helped more than others. Then after a minor tumble onto my backside the pain ramped up rapidly over a few weeks to total agony level, X-ray found v severe osteoarthritis and I was put straight onto the list for a new hip.

    i asked my consultant whether it’s common for arthritis to very suddenly surface after lurking like this for many years, and he said it can happen. If I’m honest I remained slightly dubious, but another ortho consultant agreed. After a year’s wait I had my new hip fitted last weekend, and the woman in the next bed to mine had exactly the same story. Minor gripes for a while, then suddenly, wham! “You need a new hip”. I didn’t even know I had arthritis till that shock phone call from my doc!

    I’ve heard others on this forum say that like me (and you) referred pain right down the leg is common, for me it was stabbing pains behind the kneecap, and raw pain all the way down the outside of my leg, and a burning sensation down my shin, very often when I was sitting quite still or lying in bed. That’s as well as a variety of pains in all parts of the hip joint. My pains changed over the year as the hip then deteriorated at a rate of knots, for me the surgery couldn’t come soon enough as it had got to the stage that I could hardly work (I’m self employed), and had given up nearly all my leisure activities. Even without lockdown there was no point going on holiday as all I could manage is a trip round a supermarket.

    I had a steroid injection but sadly it didn’t work for me as I was already bone on bone. If that’s the case with you, you need to tell your surgeon so they can escalate the treatment to replacement. However, if it is working then you can have it done repeatedly, even if it only lasts a few months.

    There a very good link for pain management on this site, which you may find helpful in addition to the ones Peter has suggested. This forum is also really supportive and friendly, they certainly kept me afloat over the last 12 months. If you need a moan, have any questions, or just want a hater, this is the place to come. We all know how rubbish arthritis feels.

  • Hi @Believer81, thank you for sharing and welcome to our online community.

    As Lilymary said, sometimes the symptoms of pain can come on very suddenly, sometimes without much warning. For others it might feel like more of a slow build up of symptoms, but we’re still unsure why the onset of pain seems to affect people so differently. Also, referred pain into areas like the leg, sciatic nerve and groin area can be quite common with osteoarthritis in the hip.

    It is reasonably common for nerves to get pinched which can be quite painful sometimes. Gentle stretches and exercises can be really helpful at easing some pressure if you have any trapped nerves, so you might want to ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist who can guide you with the best exercises for your body. There are also some specific painkillers which can help ease nerve pain, but it’s best to have a discussion with your GP about this first.

    As PeterJ mentioned, it’s always a good idea to visit your doctor again if you feel the symptoms aren’t getting any better or if you notice them getting worse. There are also some great links to our pages on ways to manage hip pain, so do take a read of them if you haven’t already done so. I’ve also added a link to our more general guide on tips to manage pain which I hope is helpful.

    Remember you can always call our helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) if you’d like to chat to one of the team in more detail, and it’s great to see you’ve joined our community here – do feel free to ask any more questions to the group here if you have them.

    My best wishes,

    Jack – Helpline Advisor

  • This is Believer81 again and I would like to thank you for your comments. I have made another appointment with another Ortho Dr. (he was off on 1st appointment) as my concern is all the tingling in lower leg to my heel. Yesterday just had slight pinching on groin and outer hip and tingling. Took prescription & 2 tylenol at lunch and supper. About 7:30 had enormous pain shoot in outside hip and lower leg. Got up and walked around then put heat on it and put leg up and it went back to just tingling so will go to appointment on Thursday morning and go from there. This morning only tingling and slight pinching in outside hip.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    Hi @Believer81 , i’m glad you’ve got another appointment, I hope it goes well, let us know how you get on,

  • Will do!

  • This is a follow up to my original message. Been gone an busy, but I did have another meeting which happened to be the original Dr's PA and he had another x-ray done on my back this time and found some lower back areas. Like me, he agreed that it probably more a pinched nerve and despite having arthritis in my left hip, it is moderate and as the tingling jumped over to my other leg at right side of knee. He gave me a prescription for prednisone, but I have yet to take the pack as with each day since the symptoms have gradually disappeared. I still have mild symptoms and doing some back exercises. He said next we will probably need to have a MRI done to further diagnose. I'm honestly hoping that it is a once in 30 year thing, but will continue having things checked out if it continues to get worse as now it has been a total of 3 months.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    Ah, so pleased to hear the arthritis isn't the main cause of your problem, long may it stay that way. I hope the treatment for your back works, or that it settles down and behaves itself. I would recommend going to a really good physio to get exercises that will help your back, and also your hip. Those with good muscle tone around an affected joint will be far less affected by the damage caused by arthritis. As a very extreme example, a friend who is an alpine guide and ski instructor, despite having a new knee, was bone on bone in her hip but was still out walking her dog and had no noticeable limp. She had replacement surgery last summer and is back in the mountains again. My hip on the other hand has been an utter drama queen, probably not helped by my fitness being generally out of condition anyway, but it does show that improved muscle tone can help, and your physio can recommend some exercises for that and may defer the need for future hip surgery.

  • Thank you for your comments and the PA gave me exercises for back and hip so am working with them and still being very careful doing my other exercises I do. No arthritis in other hip so that is good too. I will certainly keep a watch on all.