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Old 07-08-2012, 09:20 PM   #1
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How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

My body is crying out in pain! My last MRI of my hip was in 2010, and it showed a torn labrum in my left hip. At that time, the ortho didn't feel he needed to do anything about it.

Well I feel a hell of alot worse, and it definitely is in both hips. Every doc I see doesn't think my problem lies in my hips. Last week, the orthopedist told me that X Rays confirmed that my left leg is 3/8 inch longer then my right, so he gave me a shoe insert, and thinks that will fix my pain!

He took an MRI of my back to look for a pinched nerve, but nothing. I keep telling him that my hips are the source of my pain but he refuses to focus on them!

I am on Tylenol #3 at the moment.

Should I request another doctor? How can I be sure he won't say the same thing?
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:08 AM   #2
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Hi there -- I have been through my share of hip and back issues. Sometimes there are two or three problems, which all need to be treated. So, using a shoe insert is a simple answer to problem number 1. I'm also really glad that you don't have a back problem.

So, getting to the hip. I suspect that your ortho doesn't have a lot of familiarity with hip issues. A labral tear does not just disappear on its own; if it is causing pain surgery is the only way to fix the problem. But if your ortho is not a hip specialist, he may have actually saved you from a less than ideal surgery. My first hip scope was done by a general ortho, and I felt much worse after surgery, even after the recovery period.

I would definitely push for an updated MRI and bilateral X-rays. I would then seek out a new doctor, and preferably someone who specializes in hips. Nationally, there are some doctors who are recognized as the leading experts in arthroscopic hip surgeries: Dr. Thomas Sampson (San Francisco), Dr. Phillipon (Vail, Co), Dr. Clohisy (St. Louis), Dr. Byrd (Nashville), and Dr. Kelly (NYC). Some of these doctors take insurance; some do complimentary records reviews. Even if you have to travel for surgery, I would highly recommend going to someone who only does hips.

 
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:29 AM   #3
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPeainSF View Post
Hi there -- I have been through my share of hip and back issues. Sometimes there are two or three problems, which all need to be treated. So, using a shoe insert is a simple answer to problem number 1. I'm also really glad that you don't have a back problem.

So, getting to the hip. I suspect that your ortho doesn't have a lot of familiarity with hip issues. A labral tear does not just disappear on its own; if it is causing pain surgery is the only way to fix the problem. But if your ortho is not a hip specialist, he may have actually saved you from a less than ideal surgery. My first hip scope was done by a general ortho, and I felt much worse after surgery, even after the recovery period.

I would definitely push for an updated MRI and bilateral X-rays. I would then seek out a new doctor, and preferably someone who specializes in hips. Nationally, there are some doctors who are recognized as the leading experts in arthroscopic hip surgeries: Dr. Thomas Sampson (San Francisco), Dr. Phillipon (Vail, Co), Dr. Clohisy (St. Louis), Dr. Byrd (Nashville), and Dr. Kelly (NYC). Some of these doctors take insurance; some do complimentary records reviews. Even if you have to travel for surgery, I would highly recommend going to someone who only does hips.
Thanks. I will look for a hip specialist.


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Old 07-09-2012, 04:41 PM   #4
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Hi Searfass:
A couple years ago my brother in law went to see my own hip surgeon, because he thought he might need new hips. He was having pain in his hip/s.

It turned out that one of his legs was slightly shorter than the other and the doctor immediately saw that by the way he walked. An x-ray was taken and the cartilage was OK. So the surgeon gave him a lift and that solved the problem! I haven't heard about any more hip pain from my brother in law, so I assume that the lift has solved the problem. His wife said that he has always leaned slightly to that side so apparently the shorter leg problem was there most of his life. My brother in law sure was impressed by my hip surgeon's expertise, and was very happy that my surgeon solved my brother in law's problem.

I am telling you all this so that you will give the lift a chance to solve your problem before you go into major surgery to correct what you think is wrong.

Please keep us posted on how things are going. Thanks.

Shirley H.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

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Hi Searfass:
A couple years ago my brother in law went to see my own hip surgeon, because he thought he might need new hips. He was having pain in his hip/s.

It turned out that one of his legs was slightly shorter than the other and the doctor immediately saw that by the way he walked. An x-ray was taken and the cartilage was OK. So the surgeon gave him a lift and that solved the problem! I haven't heard about any more hip pain from my brother in law, so I assume that the lift has solved the problem. His wife said that he has always leaned slightly to that side so apparently the shorter leg problem was there most of his life. My brother in law sure was impressed by my hip surgeon's expertise, and was very happy that my surgeon solved my brother in law's problem.

I am telling you all this so that you will give the lift a chance to solve your problem before you go into major surgery to correct what you think is wrong.

Please keep us posted on how things are going. Thanks.

Shirley H.
That's great for your brother Shirley! Thus far, the shoe insert that I have been wearing hasn't really done much of anything. I think the damage is already done; as suddenly correcting a leg discrepancy isn't going to fix a torn labrum. Maybe if I was told this 5 or so years ago, I'm sure it would've prevented it, but hindsight is always 20/20.

I've made an appointment with that hip specialist on friday. I'm currently wearing the shoe lift so we'll see how everything goes!
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:56 PM   #6
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

I would be cautious in proceeding to surgery with a doctor that lists only replacements and resurfacings, or revisions thereto. While you may ultimately need such extensive surgery, I would use that kind of doctor for his diagnostic ability and continue to search for a doctor who performs less extensive surgery, such as labral repair and femoral acetabular impingement arthroplasty.

A Dr. who states he is a second-opinion doctor for the NFL does not make him a super-doctor in my eyes, but he should be well informed of the best surgeons, regionally and nationally, for any particular injury. I would ask the doctor you are seeing about hip arthroscopy specialists in your area, as he may have some references.

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Old 07-10-2012, 08:10 AM   #7
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Ok, I'll see what he says and go from there. I could swear that I seen Dr. Palumbo in 2010 when I had a work-related injury to my knee. When he ordered MRIs of my right knee and left hip, they showed "a possible labrel tear in left hip". His advice was just to take aleve for the pain, he said I was too young for any dramatic surgical procedure.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:14 AM   #8
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

I wish I had never had my first hip surgery. I dealt with a torn labrum from age 15 to age 29. The duration of my untreated injury made the tissue damage extensive, and I made the mistake of allowing a general ortho do a hip scope. I would trade my current hip situation (constant pain between 4 and 8) for my previous hip that locked up two-three times per day (stabbing pain at a 9+). I may feel differently in a couple of months, once my projected recovery period is complete.

I say this to caution you in your selection of surgeon and decision whether to have any surgery. If you have constant pain or your back is also suffering, then surgery may be more clearly warranted. But, if you have intermittent pain or locking, surgery could resolve the torn labrum but make your hip differently painful. If you choose to have surgery, please ask the surgeon what your expected outcome would be and whether you can expect to have resolution of your pain.

 
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:19 AM   #9
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

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Originally Posted by SweetPeainSF View Post
I wish I had never had my first hip surgery. I dealt with a torn labrum from age 15 to age 29. The duration of my untreated injury made the tissue damage extensive, and I made the mistake of allowing a general ortho do a hip scope. I would trade my current hip situation (constant pain between 4 and 8) for my previous hip that locked up two-three times per day (stabbing pain at a 9+). I may feel differently in a couple of months, once my projected recovery period is complete.

I say this to caution you in your selection of surgeon and decision whether to have any surgery. If you have constant pain or your back is also suffering, then surgery may be more clearly warranted. But, if you have intermittent pain or locking, surgery could resolve the torn labrum but make your hip differently painful. If you choose to have surgery, please ask the surgeon what your expected outcome would be and whether you can expect to have resolution of your pain.
Yea I hear that hip surgery is a life-changing event, and one not to go into lightly. Wow, you had a torn labrum from 15-29? With it left untreated that long, I would think it would result in more arthritis, and a hip replacement would be the only remedy?

Anyway, it's like a miracle today. I woke up and I need no pain pills whatsover! I think the heel lifts that I'm wearing are beginning to work. I still do not know if I can run, I don't want to chance it though. To be fair though, in 2010 my hip MRI showed a *possible* torn labrum. But it's been left untreated since, and with my leg discrepency, I'm almost positive that it's a full blown tear.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:47 AM   #10
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

You know, I swore for a long time I had a right hip issue and no testing showed anything. The doctor said is was muscle related not a tear or arthritic, etc. At the same time, I was going thru issues with my left foot and had to have 2 surgeries, both of which had me in a surgical shote for several weeks at a time. Amazingly, after the surgeries were done and I was totally healed, the hip pain began to subside. I started going to a massage therapist also. And as it turns out, it was muscle related. All those years of walking funny to accomodate the foot issues and then weeks of off balance due to the surgical shoe had caused it all. I'd be willing to bet a large part of your problem is the shorter leg. Keep us posted.

 
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #11
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

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You know, I swore for a long time I had a right hip issue and no testing showed anything. The doctor said is was muscle related not a tear or arthritic, etc. At the same time, I was going thru issues with my left foot and had to have 2 surgeries, both of which had me in a surgical shote for several weeks at a time. Amazingly, after the surgeries were done and I was totally healed, the hip pain began to subside. I started going to a massage therapist also. And as it turns out, it was muscle related. All those years of walking funny to accomodate the foot issues and then weeks of off balance due to the surgical shoe had caused it all. I'd be willing to bet a large part of your problem is the shorter leg. Keep us posted.
Well like Shirley suggested, I will let the heel lift work awhile to see how things go. I definitely notice a great improvement with only wearing them a few days, my hips are 10 X better and so is my gait. On Friday I made an appointment with the hip specialist, even though my hips don't really bother me much anymore, I just want to find out where I currently stand; if I have labrel tears on both hips. Hip/walking problems seem to run on my mother's side of the family, as all her siblings are either walking with canes or wheelchair bound due to hereditary Ataxia. So I want to nip this problem in the bud and get on with my life, I've missed so much as I've felt for the past 4 or 5 years that I've been a prisoner inside my body. I could not do anything besides work and come right home, that's no way for a 32 year old to live.

It's hard enough having CF and diabetes, but I wouldn't be stricken with them if God didn't think I could handle them, I beleive there is a reason for everything.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:50 PM   #12
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

YAY! The best news ever is that you are receiving relief, especially with a non-intrusive fix. It's probably a good idea to keep the hip appointment so that you know all your options. You could still have a hip problem: resolving the leg length could either allow you to avoid surgery or help your recovery if you need surgery.

I tore my labrum at age 14 -- stood from awkward sitting position, screamed and couldn't get up. My mom thought I was being dramatic, but did take me to a family doctor. He moved my leg around and told me I had growing pains. Hmmm.

With the first scope, they found some areas of bone-on-bone. Doctor said he was suprised I was able to walk with the damage. With the second, more bone-on-bone, plus damage to the femoral head. With the third, more than half of the acetabular cartilage had pulled away from the bone. So, now I'm hoping that full recovery will get me full relief. (I'm not currently a good candidate for resurfacing or replacement b/c I am a female in childbearing years, plus want to have kids, and my joint space is still good.)

It's impossible to know how things would have turned out had I not had the first surgery, but I am almost certain that they would be better if I had had a different surgeon for the first. I'm so grateful for my current hip guy, who is nice in addition to being good.

Last edited by SweetPeainSF; 07-11-2012 at 11:14 PM. Reason: Add'l info.

 
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:14 AM   #13
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Well I had my appointment today, and I have an appointment next week for MRIs of both of my hips. But the nearest follow up appointment I could get was August 6th. So I won't know anything until then.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:43 PM   #14
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

You can ask for a copy of the MRI report and/or the films. If you prefer to wait for the appointment with the doctor to discuss the results, that's fine, of course. But, you can always get the reports directly from the radiology facility.

It may actually be helpful to give yourself a couple of weeks with the shoe insert to see how much pain is relieved. Lots of folks have all kinds of wacky problems inside their bodies, with no pain during their lifetime. So, even if the radiologist sees a problem, you don't have to fix it if it's not affecting you.

 
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:20 AM   #15
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Re: How to get my doc to focus on my hips?

Hi Searfass:

So happy to hear that the shoe lift has reduced your hip pain somewhat. I am glad that you are going to see the doctor again and we all hope that the lift has done the job. However, if not, at least with further examination you will know what is what and can go on from there.

If there are several walking problems in your family, maybe there is a certain inherited body structure involved?

Please keep us updated on how things are going. In this forum we all learn a great deal from reading about the problems and solutions of others. Thanks for your input.

Shirley H.
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