Bursitis or osteo-arthritis?

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I banged my right hip last November and have been in pain ever since slowly getting worse. Six months ago, GP thought it was possibly bursitis, said it would take time to heal and suggested rest and nsaids. Now my hip is waking me in the night and is very stiff when I get up. I can only walk for about 10 minutes before the pain becomes too much.

I went back to the surgery a couple of weeks ago and GP send me for an xray marking OA? on the form. I rang the surgery last week for the result and receptionist said it was borderline. I asked if that meant borderline nothing wrong (in which case why so much pain) or borderline something wrong but not serious enough for intervention? She said she couldn’t tell me any more over the phone. I have an appointment to see a doctor next week.

Over the counter painkillers don’t touch this and I’m worrying that my GP won’t offer any other kind of treatment. But I’m also wondering whether this is bursitis or osteo arthritis. My gut feeling is that it could be the latter. My mother developed OA in her 40s and eventually had both hips replaced.  I’m now 60. Also, I was born with a dislocated right hip which was corrected in my early years but wondering if that dislocation means I am predisposed to get OA.

I read somewhere that OA is felt at the front of the hip and groin. That’s not what I have. My pain is down the side of the hip (where I originally banged it) and running underneath the buttock. Sometimes the pain travels all the way down my leg. I can get some relief by lying on my back and stretching and rotating the leg but I can hear a distinct clicking each rotation. That seems to suggest OA to me rather than bursitis but could a knock trigger OA? I was fine before.

I’ve seen a TV ad for free trial version of Acti-Patch which I thought might be worth a try to that’s on order.

I know I do need to see the doctor to get any further with this, maybe a referral for some physio, but wondering if anyone else has any thoughts based on their own experience. Thanks.

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  • Posted

    I have pain on the outside of my hip - hardly any pain when walking, but agony when I lie on the hip.   My consultant said it was bursitis and OA and I'm now awaiting a replacement (I won't hold my breath - approx. nine months !).   I had a couple of injections a while ago - which helped - but Mr. Consultant is not in favour of them - "they cure the symptoms, not the cause".   Hence the replacement.   Good luck with it all.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply, Madeleine. I get pain sitting, standing, walking and lying down especially if I lie on the hip so pretty much all the time.  Woke up in so much pain this morning it was bringing tears to my eyes. Wondering if, like you, I have both. My docs appt was not until the 8th July but I called the surgery and managed to get an emergency appt for this evening so hope I can get some answers. I took paracetomol first thing and some ibuprofen a little later after I'd had breakfast. Pharmacist has advised that I can alternate but not to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach. I had to be somewhere and driving was very uncomfortable but after I'd done what I had to do I had time for a walk. A 30 minute gentle stroll seemed to ease the pain a little.

      Yes, I've heard about injections. Were they steroids? I can see the consultants point. I suppose it would mask the symptoms and perhaps encourage the patient use the joint more strenuously than is advisable causing more damage in the process. But nine months is a long wait when suffering so much pain.

      Thank you for your good wishes. I'll report back later on what doc says.

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  • Posted

    Hi cjb, sounds a lot like the sciatic nerve giving trouble, I have OA but not in my hips but I did have a trapped nerve one time which like with your pain, started in the hip and buttock and ran all the way down the leg.  Anti inflamms and physio eased mine.  Has the doctor mentioned sciatica at all?  It was killer painful for a while and no meds really touched it but after continuing with the anti inflamms and some physio appointments, it eased off.
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    • Posted

      Hi Loxie and thank you for your reply. I hadn't even considered sciatic nerve trouble but that may be a clue to what is happening especially as the xray for osteo arthritis is apparently "borderline". Killer painful certainly describes what I was experiencing this morning although it did ease after some painkillers and a gentle stroll. Thinking back, my mother's arthritis started in her back before her hips and I'm wondering if what I am experiencing is the start of that. Like mother, like daughter. My mother has passed away now so I can no longer ask her to describe more fully the progress of her own condition. She was of that generation that just got on with things. I do get some lower back discomfort after gardening (but who doesn't) and my back does sometimes feel a little stiff in the morning but ordinarily I don't experience back pain. I need to do a bit of reading up on this. I have a docs appointment in half and hour so I'd better get my skates on and will report back. Thanks again.
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  • Posted

    Just a quick update on the visit to the doc. The xray result is fine. I have a copy of the report and although there is some asymmetry (due to the birth dislocation) there is no significant degenerative wear which, bearing in mind my mother's history, seems amazing. So we are back to the bursitis diagnosis for now. The doc has prescribed Naproxen anti-inflammatories. If these don't do the trick then we are looking at injections, investigations to see if there is a back problem and physio. I have a follow up appointment in 10 days time.
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