New and awaiting possible osteoarthritis diagnosis

Hi, I've been advised by physio to have a look at this website and join the forum.

My story is I've been suffering hip pain for a while now but it's been getting a lot worse over the past few months. Since the beginning of this year it's been extremely painful and now getting to the point where even walking round the house is a struggle. I wasn't able to see anyone through the lockdowns, the GP won't see me and it has to be physio first. I've had a telephone consultation with the physio, he thinks it sounds like osteoarthritis, if not that then possibly adhesive capsulitis of the hip (but both hips are painful).

I'm now awaiting an actual physio appointment but that's going to take some time.

In the meantime I'm now walking with a stick a lot of the time, my hips are so stiff and moving to walk is excruciatingly painful. I'm not living my life, I'm struggling to keep the house going and I can't enjoy doing things with my child. Thankfully my husband is amazing and does so much to help.

I'm really struggling to cope with the pain tonight. My hips both click and lock, and unlocking them is excruciating. My left one feels really sore down the side of it.


  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Moderator Posts: 561

    Hello @Limpingandinpain and welcome to our online community. We are a friendly and supportive group and I hope that that will be your experience as well.

    I understand that you are having pain in your hips and having problems walking and are waiting for a physio appointment. It can be very frustrating having to wait but Covid has made the situation worse. Keep pushing to get an actual appointment. Has the GP prescribed any form of pain relief?

    Please do have a look at our website and use the search function - it contains a lot of useful information. I've put a couple of links below which you might find of use.

    If you have any specific questions there is also our Helpline team

    Please do keep posting and keep us up to date and I am sure others will connect with you to share their experiences as well.

    With very best wishes

    Peter (moderator)

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,544

    Hi @Limpingandinpain , that sounds really painful and distressing. The wait for nHS physio can be a long one, did your GP indicate when you might hear from them? If it’s not any time soon, to speed things along, I’d suggest going to see a private qualified physio for the initial assessment and exercise regime. They will then write to your GP reporting what they’ve found and can make a recommendation for any further investigations (eg X-ray) to your GP and can accurately describe your range of movement (or lack of) and pain levels which might prompt your GP to take you seriously. Your GP will still be the one to decide whether to refer you on for X-ray, musculoskeletal consultant or rheumatologist, and they don’t always follow the physio’s recommendation, depending on what the treatment options would be.

    I was in a similar position to you in March last year, where the pain levels suddenly went through the roof and continued getting worse. Luckily my GP decided she would see me (having seen a physio report several months previously which said she suspected OA), despite it being the beginning of the first lockdown, and referred me for X-ray, and subsequently for MSK and hip replacement surgery. I find GPs refusal to see people who are intense pain baffling, as my own GP said “how else can I assess you?”.

  • Thank you so much for the replies... it's great to have found a place where people understand. I have 30/500mg cocodamol which I was originally prescribed for sciatica but I've not been able to even get a phone appointment about this. The cocodamol isn't doing anything, not even taking the edge off. I'm allergic to NSAIDs so I'm at a loss really as to what to do for any pain relief. I have 30mg dihydrocodeine which I'm prescribed for migraines, but only get a pack of 30 every few weeks so I can't use that because I need it for the migraines. I have noticed though that when I've taken those for a migraine, they massively improve the hip pain.

    Lilymary - my best friend said her mum had private physio on her shoulder and has given me the number for them so I think I will give them a go. I hope you're OK, have you had your surgery yet or are you on a long waiting list? I'm terrified in case I need to end up with a hip replacement. My mum had 2 around 10 years ago and it didn't look a nice thing to go through. She was 65 at the time though, I'm only 45 and the physio said they don't always like to do them too early as they only last around 15 years....

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,544
    edited 11. Aug 2021, 13:52

    Definitely go for a private physio consultation, but also ask your GP to refer you to a pain clinic to review your meds. Sadly pain relief for arthritis only knocks the edge off it, nothing will stop the pain completely, but they may be able to come up with a better combination for you that manages your migraines and sciatica as well. You need a bit more in your armoury, and there's some good advice on the link below.

    I had hip replacement back in April - I can really relate to the symptoms you describe. 45 is very young for hip replacement for the reason your physio describes, but there may be ways to manage your condition better, including adapting how you do things, and scheduling in recovery time to let inflammation settle if you've been overdoing it.

  • Thank you for your reply and I'm sorry I took so long to come back- there's been a lot going on.

    I got a definite diagnosis today - severe osteoarthritis in one hip and I need a hip replacement. I'm so scared.

    The GP prescribed tramadol at my last appointment and that is JUST taking the edge off and no more.

    Lilymary, I hope your surgery has made a big difference to your life and your recovery went well.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,544

    Sadly pain killers do only take the edge off the pain, but hopefully it’s enough to keep you moving. The joint pain went immediately after surgery (my muscles are still having a paddy, but I’m in a VERY small minority in that regard). Look at it this way, without surgery the pain is only going to get worse. After surgery, it’s only going to get better.

  • RogerBill
    RogerBill Member Posts: 123

    @Limpingandinpain like you I've had a severe hip osteoarthritis diagnosis this year. I'm having a replacement hip operation in a couple of weeks time. I used to enjoy ten mile walks but now can only manage ten minutes otherwise my symptoms are a little different to yours. Initially most pain was in my thigh and more recently it's been affecting my back and knees. I'm hoping these are referred pain and/or a consequence of my limping and other awkward movements and that the operation will help resolve these. I like @Lilymary comment "without surgery the pain is only going to get worse. After surgery, it’s only going to get better."

    In addition to pain killers have you tried any exercises? I find some exercises help and if I miss a day later that day or the next day the pain is worth. I self referred myself to Dynamichealth, a physiotherapy service funded by the NHS. They gave me some exercises and Lou Grant, a UK physiotherapist who had a replacement hip herself, has some good videos and documents on her website.

    Unfortunately in my area NHS waiting lists for hip replacement are over 12 months and I don't have medical insurance so I'm paying for a private operation. Like you I'm certainly not looking forward to the operation but I'll try to keep @Lilymary positive comment in mind.

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 393

    Good luck RogerBill on your operation keep us up to date how you are, and limpingandinpain please don’t be scared we’re all here for you 💐😊😊

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 393

    Hi RogerBill,

    I had my gallbladder out privately I had the most amazing care so I’m sure you will get the same and be back walking your 10 miles in no time 😊when I’m very nervous I talk a lot absolute rubbish I’m sure and I’m positive the anaesthetist couldn’t wait to put the mask on me just to shut me up I think but limpingandinpain private health care they were all amazing with my fear you will be fine stay strong both of you 💐😊

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