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Old 08-16-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
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Unhappy Frustrated and confused - looking for help

This may be a bit long, I apologize in advance and thank those of you kind enough to bear with me through this post. It is long because I do not know the exact cause of my pain, so I'll start where it started. I think.

For the record, I am a 5'7" 120 to 125lb 34-year old female with no history of an injury to either hip. I have sprained my right ankle three times. Ouch! But that's about the extent of any joint injuries in my past.

While I was making my bed on Saturday, March 27, I came around the corner pretty fast and cut it short. I slammed my left hip into the sleigh-style footboard of my king size-bed hard enough to move it a little bit. That'll leave a bruise, I thought to myself. No severe immediate pain to indicate anything else might have happened.

The next day was Sunday and I had plans to do some major plantings in my back yard. I don't recall anything painful upon waking up and getting around, but I do recall some pain while kneeling, but nothing major, I spend many hours happilly digging and planting. I didn't notice much the following week, just a tiny bit of stiffness. From the bruise I thought.

The following Friday night (6 days later) was another thing. I woke up sleeping on my left side, something I never do. There was severe, intense pain in my left hip. When I rolled onto my back, I had to use my hands to bring my left leg back to a normal 'flat on my back position' with toes pointing straight up. It felt like when you watch TV while raised up on one elbow for a long time and then when you try to move, it hurts. But I swear it felt 50 times worse. It brought tears to my eyes. I was pretty stiff when getting up and about. I had a hard time raising my left leg, it felt stiff at the front of the hip and I had some difficulty going up and down my steps at home. I actually led with my right and sort of picked up/drug my left leg. I could not lay on my stomach or back. I went to work, but had much diffuculty raising my left foot to shift my manual speed car. I actually killed it one time while trying to spare a squirrel's life (he was lucky). I would experience pain if I stayed in one position too long, like 45 minutes, or if I continued to move for a similar period of time.

After 2 weeks, Aprill 12, to be exact, I finally went to the doctor. They did x-rays and didn't see anything abnormal. They were happy to report there were no early signs of arthritis. They told me it was most likely a deep bone or possibly tissue bruise that would not show up on an x-ray, but it should go away on its own. They gave a prescription for 500mg Naproxen, to be taken twice a day. They said it if kept bothering me to come back. No mention of how long this should be. I refused to take the Naproxen after seeing all of the side effects. Stupid idea, I suppose.

I used to exercise 25-30 minutes a day on an elliptical machine to keep my borderline high (varying from 185-215 total) cholesterol down. I was no longer able to do this amount of exercise. I can't grocery shop for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. I now buy clothes off the internet to avoid walking at the mall. I don't enjoy playing pool, something I used to be able to enjoy for hours on end. I could stand 6-8 hours with no problem. Go to a hockey game and stand 2-3 hours, go play pool and visit with friends for a few more. In 2-3 inch heels, no less. No problem.

June 16, I went back to the doctor as I was still unable to resume normal activities or even sleep on my back, although the pain was less intense. After seeing me and hearing what was happening, they sent me the same day to have a CAT scan done. Nothing abnormal, except a small ganglian cyst in my left hip.

June 27, I go see a specialist. He examines me and reviews my x-rays and CAT scans. He theorizes it may be a small tear in the cartilage in the hip joint, something that is indicated by the cysts in the joint. He orders an MRI. He also orders me to take the Naproxen, which I do. No improvement from this either. Same old pain whether I remember to take it or not. He also notes that when raising and then lowering my leg straight out from my body there is a distinct popping sound as my leg returns to a normal position. I don't have much strength when I lift my leg and I also notice that if I rotate my leg out to the side or across my body (at least a 45 degree angle or more I am guessing) there is immediate sharp pain in the hip joint. I do not know if this has always been present, I have just noticed it now. I was visiting with a friend and put my left foot on the front of my right shin at a bent angle and moved it to the side, a movement I sometimes make, I don't know why, althougth it must look silly.

July 1, I have an MRI. The specialist reviews the results and calls me at home to tell me he is referring me to another specialist to discuss the possibility of scoping and debrising (sp?) the hip to clear it of the cartilage that is there as a result of a tear.

July 27, I see the 2nd specialist. He reviews the results and says it is most likely early osteoarthritis as indicated by the cysts in the hip. He gives me a steroid injection, and tells me to come back in three weeks. The steroid injection gives me no relief. However, by now I've been given the go ahead to do some light exercising, so I get on my elliptical for 5-7 minutes a day on a level of 2 (normally I go at 5-7 for 25 min, a 2 would have been a waste of my time before). I still can't sleep on my back or stomach. I now notice slight shooting pains in my inner left thigh and some pain on my lower left back/upper buttock (I figure it was due to the change in my normal gait in that I am gentle with my left leg and favor the right, like a slight limp and a slight dragging of the left leg for months). I also notice that if my leg hangs off the edge of a stool and my feet don't touch the floor, I experience shooting pains in the joint that make me flinch.

August 16, today, I go back to him and report that I've seen no changes. He schedules an arthroscopic surgery for September 2 to clean out the cysts and any debris that may be present. He indicates that this does often bring relief to arthritis sufferers. It could be weeks, months, or years of relief. No guarantee. I also asked him if this would allow him to rule out a tear (my hope that this is all it is and not arthritis). He says yes. He said this type of surgery is only performed on someone who is young, someone who could see years of benefit from this surgery. He also says that he can strectch the ligament that is causing the popping sound as he believes it is now tight as a result of the joint being swollen. This concerns me. I have a ligament in my forearm that was stretched in an injury and it now pops and is nowhere near as strong as it used to be.

Does anyone else have any ideas on what could be wrong? Would surgery help if it is (osteo?)arthritis? I am so frustrated (and tired of spending money and getting no real diagnosis).

tjcarst

I edited to indicate height/weight, to add pain in thigh/lower back, type of arthritis diagnosed, add info on the popping sound, and correct many typos.

Last edited by tjcarst; 08-16-2004 at 08:35 PM.

 
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Old 08-16-2004, 07:20 PM   #2
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

You are reffering to a standard arthroscopic scoping, often done in shoulders and knees and sometimes hips as well. if there is any torn cartilage rubbing up against the pelvic bone or vice versa removing this and smoothing it can help even if you don't have arthritis. I had this done some 20 years ago during another proceedure and it did help for a short while. Granted I had pretty severe arthritis and had another complete hip replacement maybe 8 years later.

I would say go ahead with it, it's very minimally evasive and you should be fine. Probably will be sore the first few days but that's to be expected. Shouldn't take maybe more than a week or two to feel better from the proceedure itself. It may or may not help, there's no guarantees with such a surgery. I'd be a little suspect that it was arthritis, chances are they are reffering to osteo arthritis and that is generally a result of injury or surgery on that area previously. I am not sure that a deep bruise would cause OA but could be wrong, however generally OA sets in years after injury not months that's why I would question it, it's most likely a tear as you indicated being the source of the problem.

If it is arthritis there's not much you can do until the hip becomes so deteriorated that it has to be replaced. You can do some heat or ice therapy and do exercises in a pool which is non weight bearing. I am not sure if your current form of exercising is weight bearing, if it is I honestly would suggest you don't do it until you know for sure what is going on with the hip. Physical therapy may help to strengthen it and you may learn a few exercises that won't be harsh on the joint itself.
BTW Naproxen is an old medication and I'm surprised your doctor gave it to you when the newer medications like Celebrex or Mobic are a little better at treating arthritis. You might want to give it a try if the Naproxen isn't working.

If you have the scoping and they don't find anything at all I would then have the lumbar spine looked at to be sure there's not a problem there. I too mimics the same type of pain but it also causes pain in the thigh. Just something to keep in mind for future referance

 
Old 08-16-2004, 07:26 PM   #3
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Thanks for the advice and for sharing information. It is truly appreciated.

I have had no injury to my hip - ever. I'm sure I'd remember. I too wondered about arthritis after reading information on its causes and treatments (after I was diagnosed).

I do have a little pain in my inner thigh, kind of a shooting pain and a little lower back/upper button pain on the left side.

The elliptical machine I use is low impact, but my weight is on my hip. Maybe I'd better re-think my exercise plan. Thanks for the tip.

I will ask for a change in my medication if it is determined to be arthritis. It was prescribed when they believed I had a deep bone bruise, not arthritis.

For now, I will plan on the surgery.

Thank you for your kind words.

tjcarst

Last edited by tjcarst; 08-16-2004 at 07:44 PM.

 
Old 08-16-2004, 11:58 PM   #4
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Good luck to you. I hope they get you all fixed up. If they still feel you have arthritis, definately get a second opinion on that by a rhuematologist.
Pain in the inside thigh wouldn't be your back at all, that's more likely your hip so it might be that tear or maybe there's some floating cartilage that might of gotten torn off somehow that's just irritating you wrong.
I would definatley lay off the elliptical machine for now, if you need to exercise try to do some aquatic, it's non weight bearing. After your surgery has passed they may have you do some moderate therapy and once you get the go ahead I'm sure you'll be able to go back to the machine

 
Old 08-30-2004, 09:57 PM   #5
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Well, Kissa, after speaking with you, I figured I have nothing to lose at this point. I have surgery this Thursday, Sept. 2.

Any last words of advice? The surgeon wants to stretch the tendon that keeps popping as it moves over my joint (as a result of the joint swelling, he thinks the tendon is tight and stretching it should alleviate the sound). I'm a bit scared at the prospect of messing with the tendon. What happens if the joint resumes its normal size? Now the tendon will be loose, right? Doesn't this also add to the amount of pain and recovery time that will be needed? I can't decide if it is necessary to even decide how to weigh the benefits/drawbacks on this procedure.

Any advice is truly appreciated.

tjcarst

 
Old 09-01-2004, 07:32 PM   #6
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, been on vacation. I hope your surgery goes well for you, I'm not too educated with the stretching of the hip ligamen but I've had tendon stretching, cutting and moving done in my knee as well as a release of it. The best thing to do is just take it easy after surgery and don't over do things. It does take a few weeks at least to get better and some therapy I am very sure.
I wouldn't be too worried overall as working with tendons these days is pretty common for many doctors.
The tendon shouldn't really loosen if the joint returns back to normal size, if anything, one would hope it would shrink back to the proper size again. I am sure that worse case scenario they'd go back and refix it again. While I know you probably aren't keen on the idea of surgery again sometimes we have to do things we don't like in order to really get better.

Best of luck and please let us know how it works out!!
Barbie

 
Old 09-03-2004, 07:53 AM   #7
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Thanks, Barbie.

I am 21 hours post-op and don't feel too bad. If not for the stretching of the tendon (thought it was a ligament, but I was wrong), I'd feel pretty good. I can't lift my left leg, just getting into bed causes my teeth to chatter and a slight sweat to start. I had an injury to my left arm that felt this way, so I am guessing it is the tendon that is killilng me and not the actual debrising of the joint. I can actually put weight on my hip and walk around gingerly without much pain. There's one other area of pain that I had not anticipated; I did not realize how they anchored a woman to the narrow operating table. A few parts are purple and hurt like hell.

The doctor said I should be able to do a little exercising on my ellitical machine within 2 weeks if my healing goes well. He discovered that my hip joint did not form correctly when I was a child and the cartilage grew around the socket to compensate. (I grew 6 inches between my 8th and 9th grades - could this be it?). This bit of extra cartilage had slipped between the joint and was being pinched, much like when you bite your cheek between your teeth. He didn't say so, but I am wondering if I pinched or jarred the cartilage into the joint when I rammed into my sleigh bed footboard at the end of March and it never returned to its normal position. I also wonder if the other hip developed in this manner. I guess if it did, I'll know where to look first if I have pain. He also said there was a slight early sign of arthritis that he was able to see and clean out a little. I am happy that all of my pain was not caused by arthritis at this point.

I do find it comforting to know there is someone out there willing to share their experiences and offer support. Thanks, Barbie.

Terri

Last edited by tjcarst; 09-08-2004 at 05:56 PM.

 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:31 AM   #8
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Terri -

I am glad they did discover the overall problem. There's nothing more frustrating than not knowing what the problem is!

I was born with a congenital dislocated hip that was corrected and replaced 4 times overall.
It took about 15 years before the arthritis was so painful I had to have it completely replaced, that was 11 years ago now and the hip is still going strong. That was one major surgery, it took me 2 years to heal but only because of a genetic disorder that I have in which I do not heal properly.

Try not to over do it after the surgery, you are going to hurt for the first few days at least. If your doctor gives you pain medications please take them as scheduled and not when the pain is at it's fullest. Pain meds are less effective if the pain is already out of control.

You will probably do some physical therapy in a few weeks. be sure to keep up with any stretches or the like that he may prescribe, you do not want atrophy or muscle tightness to set in.

Glad to hear the surgery went well, hopefully this will help you out for years to come and hopefully the arthritis will progress slowly for you because hip replacements are no fun at all!

Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

Barbie

 
Old 09-04-2004, 11:11 AM   #9
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Thanks for the advice, Barbie.

It is almost 48 hours post-op and I am feeling pretty good. I have been setting my alarm clock to remind me to take my pills and it has helped. 30 minutes before they wear off, I take another. Lortab is what I am taking and they don't make me feel like I am on another planet. The stiffness and pain when I lift my left leg (due to stretching of tendon?) is decreasing and the pain in my hip is the least painful. The pain from stretching the joint out seems to be the most of my concerns at the moment - bruised groin and left heel. I wish they'd told me exactly what they were going to do and to expect this discomfort. I hope I do not suffer nerve damage in the left crotch/groin area. At least the swelling and pain has decreased here a little. I am sure if I give it a little time, all will heal fine. I take the dressings off today and there is no sign of any drainage. A good thing, I hope. I am able to go up and down stairs easily if I lead with my good leg. I don't even need the crutches. I don't go too far, or stay up too long. It is just nice to set on the adirondack chair and get a bit of fresh air a couple of times a day.

Thanks for sharing your history. I am glad that your hip is going strong after such a diffucult time. You are very encouraging.

I will update you on the status of my recovery. So far, I am quite pleased with how well I am doing.

Terri

Last edited by tjcarst; 09-08-2004 at 11:28 AM.

 
Old 09-04-2004, 04:44 PM   #10
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Glad to hear you are farring well Terri. Definately take it easy though and don't over do it, it is so easy to over do it when you think you are doing well when in fact the medications may be what is causing the feel well feeling.
I am sure you were advised to ice a lot.
Don't overly worry about the nerve damage. During my first surgery I did in fact have tons of nerve damage, my entire leg was "dead" in fact, I of course had and astronomically large scar in the shape of a question mark.

The most important thing you'll want to do once bandages are off and you got the OK to put lotion or oil on the scar after a full heal is to buy some vitamin e oil, either in a bottle or in the little gel pills. Open up the pill and place it on your fingertip(s) rub cross grain, that's up and down not left to right with the scar, over the scar. I would say do this at least once a day if not more with slight pressure. this is going to do a few things:

1. lighten the scar quicker
2. break up any scar tissue that may be forming
3. "wake up" the nerve endings.

I've done this for nearly all my surgeries and I can assure you this makes the world of difference and it quite important, particularly when it comes to scar tissue. Scar tissue build up can be far more painful than most injuries or surgeries themselves.

Definately keep up the regimine you are, it seems you are doing well, I am sure you'll be feeling more like yourself in a week at least, it takes that long for anethesia to be dispelled completely from the system.

Take care!
Barbie

 
Old 09-08-2004, 11:35 AM   #11
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Hi Barbie:

6 days post-op and I am feeling pretty well. I am able to go up steps now with a little caution without any pain, just a little stiffness. I was able to go down steps on day 2 and 3 with just a bit of pain and stiffness, but never up.

I made the trip to the cafeteria at work which is probably 500 feet from my office. It was a long walk and is the first time that I felt any burning or pain in the joint. Pretty good considering it's been 6 days and no joint pain until now. I pushed a little too hard here, but know to pace myself a little better. Each day I try to push bit further to hopefully get back to where I once was able to do about anything. I practiced going down steps initially, then going up, and now working on adding a little distance. My doctor said that I should be able to exercise lightly on my elliptical machine two weeks after surgery. I'll wait until I've seen him on day 15 before attempting, but it looks like he may just be right.

I no longer feel I need the Hydrocodone to make it through the day, although I haven't stopped taking it yet. Today is the last supply I have and then they have prescribed Darvocet. The pharmacy was supposed to mail it out, but dropped the ball on this one, so I may be a day or two wihout any pain medication. Maybe I won't need that at all. I sure hope I don't need any more. I have a little Naprosyn left from before my surgery, maybe I can drop back to just taking that instead of the Darvocet.

My only complaint at this point is the bruising and numbness in my groin region and heel. (The groin bruised by the 'post' used to anchor my body and the heel bruised by the 'boot' used to pull my leg away from body joint). Hard to explain, but if you've had it done, I'm sure you know what I mean. I didn't really think about how the hip joint would be loosened for surgery. I sure hope the normal sensations/feeling return to these areas. Is this normal to have brusing? If so, how long for it to heal?

Thanks for your continued support.

Terri

Last edited by tjcarst; 09-08-2004 at 06:04 PM.

 
Old 05-30-2006, 02:44 PM   #12
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Hi Terri,
I know your post was from quite a while back, but yours is the closest thing I can find on the internet to what I believe has happened to me. After doing a hip exercise at the gym, I felt a shock like sensation. A couple weeks later I started to get the burning pain, and also noticed the clicking when I lift and then extend my leg back down. I'm fairly sure that was never there before. That was nearly 3 months ago. I haven't lifted my leg in quite a while now, and that keeps the pain down to a minimum, but I'm anxious for one of my doctors to figure out what's going on. I was just wondering if you had anything new to tell and if you're back to feeling like your old self yet.

Regards,
Wes

 
Old 01-19-2007, 11:40 AM   #13
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Re: Frustrated and confused - looking for help

hi...i am jackie...i too have a hip problem...it took 3 years to diagnose...the problem sounds similar to yours...i have synovial chondromatosis of the hip...it means that i grow rice krispie size tumors in the synovial tissue that lines the hip joint...some drs feel this comes from trauma and i did fall about a year before the symptoms developed...at first i was told that arthroscopic surgery was the answer...they went in and debrided the tissue and removed any loose bodies(tumors that boke off and calcified)...the surgery and recoop were a breeze...however it did not solve the problem...after seeing another surgeon he said the other guy just didn't get it all and he could do it...so i scheduled surgery again...the night before surgery he called and canceled saying that i probably wasn't in enough pain to go ahead...he didn't think the improvement would be significant...i walk with a limp and have discomfort...i still can do the eliptical and even dance...walking is the hardest for me...i can't find a dr that is really knowledgable of the conditiion so i am staying like this...the only way i got a diagnosis was from a major hospital in ny with great mri equipment...my local hospital's mri was not good enough...i hope you get some answers...good luck to you...jackie

Last edited by jaq625; 01-20-2007 at 07:24 AM.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 03:14 PM   #14
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Re: Frustrated and fed up - looking for help

Sorry I haven't checked back here for quite some time.

I am now nearly 2.5 years since surgery. I can't do all that I did before my injury, but am okay for the most part. I can exercise about 15-16 min at a moderate pace on my elliptical, any more and it hurts. I started to use exercise equipment at the gym at 1.5 years post op. The two that I think helped to strengthen a bit are the hip adductor and abductor. One you use the outside of your thighs to push your legs apart, the other the inside thighs to pull together. I've just started Pilates recently as well. I don't have nearly the strength in the left leg, but I can do about half the work at least.

I am afraid to do anything that might jar the joint: no running or jumping or dancing. Makes me cringe to even contemplate. I can sleep on my stomach now, but would never think of sleeping on the left hip.

I am not pleased with my current state, but it could be much worse, I guess.

I hope that you all find a resolution to your pain and can return to normal life soon.

Terri

 
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