Diagnosed with osteoarthritis

Hi, I'm fairly new to the forum- I posted to introduce myself a few weeks ago when I was advised to check the site out by a physiotherapist during a phone consultation.

I've finally been able to see an actual GP, who organised some xrays, and they have come back. I have severe osteoarthritis in one hip and need a hip replacement sooner rather than later. I'm absolutely terrified 😨 I also feel shocked and emotional.....I didn't expect it to be so severe. Arthritis had been mentioned as a possibility but a few other things were thought to be more likely.

I'm so scared at the thought of surgery and being in hospital.

Hope you are all doing OK.


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,704

    This has obviously come as a shock. I remember being told I needed new knees. I said I thought they were for osteo (I'd had rheumatoid for about 20 years) and was told "Oh you've got that too now."

    If you've been very active then your muscles are probably good and strong so they will have supported your deteriorating joint so well that you didn't notice the pain much. However, if you need a new one, you need a new one and, as there are some very long waiting lists right now, I'd suggest you set the ball in motion by asking your GP to arrange an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

    Believe me hospitals and surgery are not scary. I've done them far too many times😉 You'll have plenty of time to get your head round it before the op and we'll be here to support you.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 406

    Hi Limpingandinpain,

    It is a shock and a horrible thought going in for surgery and no one wants arthritis but think about after you’ve had the surgery and your quality of life should be much better just try to hold onto that I’m in for a procedure on Wednesday and I’m really not looking forward to it at all in fact I really hate hospitals and not too keen on doctors either but it’s a means to an end I hope but I just wanted to let you know your not alone

    take care Jona 😊

  • Robin59
    Robin59 Member Posts: 32

    Limpingandinpain I understand how you feel I also have osteoarthritis of the hips this was first diagnosed last February. I am just as frightened as you, though the option of surgery hasn't even been suggested to me. You didn't mention what pain relief you take, I really hope you have something that helps, as a type 2 diabetic they won't give me anything stronger than Co Dydramol. I haven't seen a GP face to face since before the pandemic when I do talk to a GP the general attitude seems to be 'We can't cure it, just stay mobile and put up with it' . I hope that you don't have financial worries on top of everything else, I live on my own so if I can't work I struggle. Have you applied for PIP? I have, but I was told quite abruptly by a local Council Welfare Officer I didn't have a hope of getting anything.

    I haven't been on this website that long either just since the start of the Summer holidays but it does help to see that I am not the only one and there are people worse than me.


  • Robin59
    Robin59 Member Posts: 32

    Jona hope everything goes well for you, I don't know which part of the country you and Limpinginpain are in, but it seems much better than where I am. I hope you will let us know how it goes,

    thinking of you


  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Hi Limpingandinpain, I had the same last year, kept going for quite a few years with odd pains and a slowly developing limp, then after a tumble the X-ray found I had OA in both hips and one already needed replacing. It was a massive shock. But the pain went stratospheric and was so bad, and my life was getting smaller and smaller so fast, that I felt surgery, however scary, would be a far better prospect.

    i dealt with any fears by almost going into a state of denial about how gruesome the surgery might be and putting all my faith in the surgeons. Obviously the docs talked through what they were going to do, but I tried to view it as an observer rather than a participant! While it’s quite a big op, it only takes about an hour and it’s now very routine surgery. I asked to be heavily sedated so I wouldn’t be aware of what they were doing during the op (as well as anaesthesia, obvs), which they did. The only time I had a bit of a wobble was when the anaesthetists started doing their stuff, and the next thing I knew they were wheeling me out of theatre with a brand new hip. They kept me in for 3 days, and were very kind and supportive. The early days of recovery can be a bit uncomfortable, but I went from 10 pills a day to the odd paracetamol almost immediately after I got home. Hang onto that prospect.

  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    Yes, surgery is scary but feel assured by the millions who have been there before you! The professional way in which the staff of the NHS operate is second to none, if you have to have it done then the NHS are the ones to do it.

    Be grateful of what will happen, some of us may never get there?

    it’s a grin, honest!

  • Robin59 - that sounds like an awful attitude your Dr has. I had a lot of fighting to do to get an appointment- I'd been putting off even trying because I knew they were seeing so few people but eventually my parents and husband said I really needed to see someone, after seeing how bad it was when we were on holiday together in July.

    When I first phoned to make an appointment, the receptionist told me to self-refer to physio. I said I really thought I needed to see a GP first but she said they would just say I had to go to physio too! I had my phone appointment, at the beginning of August, and the physio thought it might be a frozen hip or might be arthritis. He said I would have to have 2-3 months of physio before anyone else would see me and that any consultant would require me to have tried that first!

    He gave me a number to phone to make an appointment for physio. That took me a week to actually get through on and it was another phone appointment in September.

    The pain was getting so bad, and the stiffness was awful. One Saturday night I bumped my foot into the side of the rug (I didn't even trip, I just have so little mobility that anything like that can completely through me - literally!) and that was enough to make me fall, luckily into the chair. My husband decided enough was enough and got in touch with our local councillor, who actually replied that night. She passed it on to someone high up in the county in the NHS who arranged for a senior community nurse to come out to discuss everything.

    The nurse saw how much I'm struggling and she said I had to be seen, and ghsg she would go to the daily meeting with the GPs and ask someone to do a phone consultation with me. She phoned that afternoon after the meeting and said they had said I had to make an appointment "in the normal way" ie phone or use an e-consult. I knew if I phoned I would get sent to physio so I did an e-consult. I had to change some of my answers because it said I needed urgent medical attention if the pain was so bad.

    Finally got it sent off and it said I'd hear from a GP by 6.30 the next day. I did - by email!! The one GP in our practice who we have said we never ever want any dealings with after a previous shocking experience, had to be the one to get her hands on it of course! Her reply said she could see I'd been advised to go to physio and for pain relief, she could see that I had medium strength opiates on prescription (yes, 30mg dihydrocodeine for migraines but I only get 30 in the pack so I have to be sparing with those, and 30/500mg Cocodamol for period pain but these are not touching this pain). And that was it.

    My husband saw red, phoned the high up person again, and she got me a phone appointment for that afternoon with my favourite GP. He immediately said he needed to see me and said to go down at the end of surgery. He arranged xrays and blood tests and prescribed tramadol and diazepam and said once we knew what we were dealing with, he would make a plan.

    He saw me last week with the blood tests which all came back OK apart from saying there was an inflammation somewhere and a vitamin D deficiency, then he saw me again with the xray results and said that it's severe osteoarthritis, my left hip is in a terrible state - he said he was shocked at the xray. It's bone grinding against bone, and he said something about bone spurs but I didn't take it all in, I was so shocked. He said I will need a hip replacement sooner rather than later and he is going to do a referral to orthopaedics and will try to push things through quickly. My right hip is also painful but nothing was said about that.

    Robin59 - thankfully I don't have financial worries as a result, I do freelance work, a lot of which can be done from home, and my husband is working. I hope your PIP application will get you something, despite what the council welfare officer said.

    Stickywicket- I was always active until the last few months when this pain started in earnest. I'm still trying to keep moving, and walking about, although it's with a stick at the moment. Thank you for reassuring me re hospitals and surgery. The only surgery I've had is a c-section.

    Lilymary - your situation sounds so like mine. I just can't believe it's got to this point so quickly. My mum's was much more gradual over a number of years. Her hip was in this condition at 65 when she had it replaced but it had started in her late 40s. I'm glad you've had your surgery and it went well. It's reassuring to read your story. I'm at the point where some days I really can hardly even walk around the house, my hips are so stiff and the pain is through the roof. Last night, I was using my stick all the time in the house and seriously was struggling to get from the living room to the kitchen which is just across the hall. I'm having to use my stick more of the time in the house and all the time outside now. This morning doesn't feel so bad.

    Jona, I hope your procedure goes well, I'll be thinking of you on Wednesday.

  • C1955J
    C1955J Member Posts: 20

    Hi Limpingandinpain,

    I know that surgery sounds quite terrifying but I'm at the stage now where it can't come soon enough! I'm actually quite envious of anyone getting their surgery anytime soon.

    I'm also quite new to the forum and am finding it both informative and supportive and the right place to be.

    My mother had two hip replacements....one in her 60's and the other in her 90's. Having gone through this with her I recognised the symptoms in myself in June 2020 and went to my GP naively in the hope of starting the ball rolling and being put on a waiting list before it became too debilitating. I fully understand that there are procedures to follow.....so I was sent for an X-ray, given Naproxen Anti-inflammatory tablets and sent for physiotherapy. My X-ray came back as having severe osteoarthritis in my right hip.

    Unfortunately for me, I had an unpleasant side effect to Naproxen and had to stop taking it.....and the Physiotherapist said there is nothing more they can do for me, as my hip joint is literally bone on bone....just that I must keep up with the exercises given.

    It was only when the pain became unbearable and I was unable to work and could barely walk that in February this year I had to request a referral myself to be seen by an Orthopaedic Consultant. Without even seeing my X-ray he said 'you need a total hip replacement' and put me immediately onto a priority waiting list for surgery.

    I then discovered that when I had initially sought help last June, I hadn't been placed as 'under the care of MSK' (the muscular skeletal team).....even though it was a GP from the MSK team that saw me and sent me for the X-ray in the first instance etc.

    So after all my efforts I wasn't actually placed on a waiting list until this February. In my case, I'm feeling let down and that 8 months have been wasted. If I hadn't actually persevered and asked to be seen by a Consultant, I still wouldn't have been placed on a waiting list for surgery.

    I don't know how things work in your area, but my advice would be to make sure that you are officially under the care of MSK.

    Try not to worry about the surgery. I'm sure it must have been a shock initially, but just think how great you will feel when it's done!! I know that my mother recovered really quickly, even at the age of 93! She was out of hospital three days after surgery.....and she's still walking around now.....at the age of 99.

    I think I'm suffering from surgery envy. 🙃

    Anyway, I wish you well and hope you will keep us updated. We are always here to support you.

    Robin59 - I also live on my own.... in a house with 28 stairs, 13 of which I have to climb to get to my kitchen. I previously had two part time jobs and am now unable to do either. I need to use a stick all the time now and sometimes the pain is excruciating. I applied for PIP in March. My first telephone assessment on 20th August was postponed. The following appointment last week the GP rang to say she was running a couple of hours late.....my appointment was at 1.15pm. I waited....and waited.....no call! I rang to rearrange...and I now have an appointment for next Monday. I was told that apparently it takes them up to 6 weeks to make a decision and even if you are awarded it that it will be a further 3 weeks before you actually receive anything. I can only live in hope!

    Jona - Best wishes for your procedure on Wednesday.

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I was told that apparently it takes them up to 6 weeks to make a decision and even if you are awarded it that it will be a further 3 weeks before you actually receive anything. I can only live in hope!

    IF you are awarded PIP it is back dated to the date that you applied.

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    Dear @Limpingandinpain

    So sorry to hear you are in so much pain and are also frightened at the thought of surgery. I am new to the forum and recently posted my surgery story, which may be of help to you. My own experience tells me it’s well worth while. The surgery and aftermath were nothing like as bad as I had feared, and I soon started to see day by day improvements. I realise I am probably progressing better than many, but 3 weeks post-surgery, my mobility is gently improving and I am completely off pain relief. I thought the first month would be truly awful, but apart from the first few days, it has really not been too bad. As for hospital, I was only in there for 2 nights. I would recommend a spinal block rather than a general anaesthetic. Whilst it takes a few hours for feeling and movement to come back, you don’t have the nausea and disorientation of a general. You can choose how much sedation to have alongside it - enough to put you to sleep, or enough to keep you calm whilst you are generally aware of what’s going on. The latter was my choice, but I appreciate it’s not for everyone.