My name is Jade and I’m from Western Australia.
I always had hip pain starting from maybe my early 20’s, but have scoliosis, had knee issues as a teen etc. so signs were there. Symptoms were mostly groin pain and catching. I went to the doctors,and I had scans (CT, ultrasounds & x-rays) but they all came back ‘clear’ so kept on going. I never realized what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. This continued for many years until one day my leg locked so badly I couldn’t straighten it. So typical health care worker… I went to the physio rather than the doctors. After a few treatments with no improvement he suggested an MRI for a potential labral tear.
I was not working that day but messaged a colleague and asked if there was an orthopod working who would write me an MRI referral. Lucky for me the surgeon on that day was a hip preservation specialist. He wrote me the form and I booked in for my MRI as well as some new x-rays.
Finally I got some answers. Rooms rang me on a Friday and asked to see me Monday… that’s never good! I was diagnosed with acetabular retroversion, impingement, over coverage, labral tear etc. I was so happy to hear there was actually a reason for my pain. We tried conservative treatment first with physio, anti inflammatories as well as a cortisone with follow up in 3 months plus a rotational CT. With no improvement we decided to move ahead with a right periacetabular osteotomy (RPAO) later that year.
It was a very straight forward recovery. I was in hospital 5 days because i had issues tolerating the pain meds. I was 10kg weight bear for 4 weeks, then down to weight bear as tolerated with 2 crutches, and transitioned off by 8 weeks. I started physio at 2 weeks post op and hydro at 4. This recovery is definitely a test in patience that’s for sure. I went back to work as a theatre (operating room) nurse at 10 weeks which was hard but do able. I continued with rehab and was done by 6 months!
In the meantime we started the process with the left hip. Imaging, cortisone etc. diagnosis was essentially the same, and I consented for surgery later that year. One year after my RPAO.
Just before surgery date was approaching all my symptoms came back on the right side. I tried anti inflammatories etc. with little relief. I did mention this prior to surgery but I think it got lost in the midst of everything else and surgery went ahead.
Recovery was definitely harder second time around. Nausea was horrible, pain worse and nerve pain- that was something I didn’t have first time around. My surgeon also changed his weight bearing protocol. 6 weeks 10kg weight bear then weight bear as tolerated. Off crutches by about 10 weeks and back at work by 12.
Whilst things had improved I was not pain free despite all my physio and rehab etc.
A new mri on the left side showed all the inflammation was still there- it should have gone by that point post op. At this point the next treatment option was THR (Total Hip Replacement) when I was ready…. Which I wasn’t.
My right side continued to get worse. Another MRI showed nothing. But with the nature of my symptoms and the severity he said a labral repair or reconstruction would have been no benefit. So I consented for my THR.. I was definitely in denial.
I trusted my surgeon but still had that doubt if I was doing the right thing so I went and got a second opinion. He agreed THR was the right way to go. Didn’t stop me second guessing myself all the way to surgery day!
THR went well. There was more damage than we knew about. I ended up with a peri prosthetic trochanter fracture, so crutches for 6 weeks so that delayed my rehab and return to work etc. I also ended up with a hematoma which was rather sore! Just before my 6 week appointment the groin pain came back and I thought it was bursitis. Registrar said it was psoas and should settle. They put me on mobic which resulted in second degree infected burns after being in the sun less than an hour. That’s a lesson for all us hippies! The pain continued to get worse and not better despite all my rehab efforts. Groin pain, catching, inner and upper thigh pain, bursitis, clicking, feeling movement etc. It just kept getting worse. A new x-ray showed the implant was fine. Ultrasound showed bursitis- no surprise so got that injected. No drastic improvement. Pain continued. In the meantime left side gets worse.
Very frustrating on my end. Multiple follow ups with no real answers. New MRI showed nothing. Latest ultrasound showed psoas impingement plus a bone spur. Finally an answer! Psoas was injected. Not a great improvement so surgeon thinks at this point no further surgical intervention will help. Come back again in 3 months.
I had a bone scan in the meantime just to put my mind at ease. It did confirm the prosthesis was fine which was great news.
I saw my surgeon and he agreed to do an arthroscopy with psoas lengthening. Apparently, I have crazy psoas alignment.
With only a weeks’ notice I went in for the scope. (Right before our borders were meant to open over here in WA). He said my hip was really unhappy, I had synovitis and my psoas was webbed over my implant. He did the lengthening and cleaned it all up. I was just in overnight and as far as recovery went this was the easiest yet.
Fast forward 3 months…. the pain was back. I was devastated. I tried all the usual rest, physio, back to hydro but nothing helped. Surgeon said to give it more time, but I just couldn’t as not only was that side getting worse so was my left hip.
I went and saw a pain management doctor to see what my options were. As soon as he mapped out my pain and did an ultrasound, he identified scar tissue (no surprises). I did the first lot of injections and once the numbness wore off, I was completely pain free for the first time in over a year and a half. It was such a great feeling.
My left hip was getting worse, so I had a new MRI. Due to my not so straight forward recovery from THR on the R hip my surgeon did not want to proceed with a THR on the L hip just yet. So, to buy time we agreed to an arthroscopy, labral repair, cam resection and a psoas lengthening. I wasn’t keen on a scope, but I also couldn’t do nothing. As many of you know being in chronic pain daily for so many years is awful, and it takes its toll. You can only put up with so much.
In the meantime, the first lot of injections for the R hip wore off. After a few months of juggling my schedule as well as the doctors I had a second lot of injections about 2 weeks before surgery. Whilst there was an improvement, I don’t think they were as successful as the previous lot of injections.
I had my 7th Hip surgery on the 19th of Dec 2022. He did what was planned and also injected my right while I was in there. He said my hip was very unhappy yet again. Because of my hypermobility I also get to wear a brace for 12 weeks – not fun. I’m 5 months post op and unfortunately that all too familiar pre-op pain started creeping back around 7 weeks post op. You cant help but think the worst. It also hasn’t helped that I had a fall.
My right side continues to have groin and greater trochanteric bursitis pain and I am running out of options. My surgeon thinks it’s still all due to my hypermobility and poor soft tissue control.
At this point I am willing to pretty much try anything. I have had treatments with a GP that specializes in laser and acupuncture, more injections and even seen a specialist physio.
Surgeon again in a week and I’m hoping for new scans.
This journey is not an easy one. Stay tough hippies!
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