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Degenerative Arthritis Of Both Hips

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  • Degenerative Arthritis Of Both Hips

    Has anyone been diagnosed with degenerative arthritis of the hips & if so how did you deal with it and riding? I have been recently diagnosed by an x-ray and it explains why straddling my horse and riding has become almost unbearably painful over the past 3 yrs. I thought I just needed to ride more and my muscles and soft tissue would eventually stretch out and I would be OK. Any amount of riding did not ease the pain and range of motion. When I straddle often I break out into a sweat at times because of the pain. The pain will go down my thighs, across the buttocks and the groin area, all symptomatic of my condition. My last trail ride in Nov. I had to cut the ride short and walk home because I could not tolerate the PAIN any more. Now that I am diagnosed, I know why I hurt but am not happy I have arthritic hips! My conditioned is reported as "mild", ( if this is mild..that does not say much for my riding life!), and I have narrowed hip sockets, bone spurs & spurs on the femur heads as well. I have begun physical therapy. I see a pain management Dr. mid month and will see if I can get hip injections. I also see an orthopedist mid Feb. I have talked to some non-riding people who said it only gets worse and must be very advanced to have hip replacement surgery. I am scared. I am going to be 50 this summer and never thought of not riding especially this early....the physical therapist said I have very restricted motion of my hips. 1.5 yrs. ago I went to ride my bicycle and had sharp pain in my hips when my leg went up high with the pedal. I did not even bother trying to bicycle again. Other than being in so much pain trying to ride, I most likely would have not sought medical attention yet. I recently began taking Chondrotin, glacosamine & HA pills. I also have tried Tylenol, Ibuprofen all all the over the counter pain meds before riding. I am not feeling encouraged and do not wish to ride side saddle!!
    Thanks in advance for input.
    Last edited by Cfourhorses; Jan. 3, 2010, 09:11 PM. Reason: Added something about symtoms

  • #2
    I know where you are ~ you will get through this !

    I KNEW PAIN ~ What I do know NOW is that after my hip replacement I GOT MY LIFE BACK !!! Riding and All ~ without THAT PAIN! Don't be scared - you will grieve this condition ~ that's natural but when it is about unbearable pain all day - then you will decide on THR and as soon as you wake up ~ will no longer feel that terrible pain ever again.. I ride and jog hackney ponies and do all the things that I was almost unable to endure for years. My diagnose was arthritis but it turned out to be a bone deformity - that's why the meds never worked for me. I will be happy to answer any questions you have -you will get through this pain and you will again ride painfree !! I cried the first time I rode after surgery TEARS of SHEER Happinness !
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


    • #3
      Only one, but the pain *was* excruciating.

      What has helped:
      Chiro. First set of xrays, ball of joint was basically almost sitting on part of the socket, rather than in the middle of it. Last set of xrays looked like a normal hip with no injury.

      Saddle: Finding the right saddle has been the only thing that keeps me walking after a ride. It's going to vary per person. For me, it's an Ancient Passier. In the beginning, a Rider-Grip pad on the seat helped DRAMATICALLY, as did adding thinline pads for the horse. Combo got me back in real riding shape. Before that, a very different saddle, a treeless Fhoenix got me BACK riding after a couple of years of doing horribly with the hip locking up post-riding. (go to get up at work, go 'plop' and say nasty words... )

      Nutrition: Avoiding foods that cause inflammation for me. This is going to vary per person too.

      NSAIDS: Stacking them. Different classes can be stacked every 2 hrs. A 'work' day for me looks like this: 800mg Ibu with breakfast. 2 or 3 Aspirin 2 hrs later, 800mg Ibu, followed by aspirin. I try not to OD on any of them... Tylenol does nothing for me, never has.

      Rx: find the one that works for you. I loved Trammadol. Ironically, I can't take it any more, because I'm now taking Cymbalta for the Fibro. BUT--the arthritis is helped dramatically by the Cymbalta too. There are lots of new Rx's out there worth looking at. Friend does fabulous with Celebrex, did nada for me. We're all different.

      The sad part is sometimes you have to find the right horse too. THANKFULLY with the Ancient Passier, I *can* still ride my stallion. When he gained about 250lbs the year we started really working in 3rd level, and piaffe etc., he gained most of it in topline. I cried during and after every ride for about 3 months before I figured out he'd gotten so wide I could not take that saddle on him any more. I had little hope of finding a saddle I *could* take. It hurts me far, far less to ride more normally shaped horses, especially those that are Pear shaped. Mine are all flat backed and stupid-wide. <shrugs> Believe it or not I'm changing my breeding program around because of that!

      Too narrow can be just as bad. Sometimes the rider & horse just do not match.

      Friend with one hip replacement that did NOT go well is riding a Foxtrotter now and that is doing wonders for her. Feels BETTER after riding. So it's going to vary greatly, but you DON'T have to live with the pain.
      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


      • #4
        Given what your pain feels like, you may have some other cartilage and bone issues that are leading to the arthritis.

        I had 'impingement' in the joint (bone deformity thing) - trashed a gasket of cartilage around the joint.

        Riding wasn't pleasant, but sort of do-able....Had an op to try to fix it and the joint went downhill in a BIG hurry. Haven't been able to ride at all since that op. Range of motion is REALLY bad - and even putting my leg to the side hurts.

        Note that the arthritis on the x-rays looked 'mild', but when the OS got into the joint he said that the cartilage was actually pretty trashed, and the 'arthritis' just hadn't shown up on x-ray yet.

        Now have a hip replacement scheduled later this month.

        And EVERYBODY is telling me it's like getting your life back! There is a forum on bonesmart.org if you want to poke around some on hip replacements, and you can also google 'femoral acetabular impingement'...


        • #5
          Pinto, how come you can't take tramadol w/ Cymbalta?


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post
            I KNEW PAIN ~ What I do know NOW is that after my hip replacement I GOT MY LIFE BACK !!! Riding and All ~ without THAT PAIN! Don't be scared - you will grieve this condition ~ that's natural but when it is about unbearable pain all day - then you will decide on THR and as soon as you wake up ~ will no longer feel that terrible pain ever again.. I ride and jog hackney ponies and do all the things that I was almost unable to endure for years. My diagnose was arthritis but it turned out to be a bone deformity - that's why the meds never worked for me. I will be happy to answer any questions you have -you will get through this pain and you will again ride painfree !! I cried the first time I rode after surgery TEARS of SHEER Happinness !
            Wow, sounds wonderful! My primary Dr.'s nurse said I was a long way from a replacement because of my age and it is "mild". I am sure I will have many questions. Thank you so much! Ride on!


            • Original Poster

              I have tried different saddles and I do not notice a difference at this point. I do have a wide horse. This past weekend I went to see a couple horses I thought may be less wide, I did not mount either one as they were not going to be still for mounting at the mounting block. My little mare is so good and patient and waits for me to get in position which can be as long as 5 minutes before I can straddle enough to get my foot in the stirrup. I will keep all this in mind and appreciate the input!! Thank you.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you. The physical therapist did say since I am so tight/restricted in my leg range of motion, it is possible that could be causing the spurs but she added we may never know.


                • Original Poster

                  Interesting. I cannot see the orthopedist until mid Feb. The receptionist at his office said there is a "new" procedure call "scoping"...she did not know if I would be a candidate or not but said it is so new that the Dr.'s there do not do it but would refer me.....Good luck with your replacement!!


                  • #10
                    I had both hips replaced at the same time about 4 yrs ago (upper 40's)- and it gave me my life back too! Prior to the replacement, I had trouble walking, riding anything too wide, dismounting, leading horses bc I couldn't move quickly enough, etc. Couldn't sleep for the pain. Any palliative treatment was only going to delay the inevitable. I went to three different good orthopedic surgeons and finally found Dr Rothman in Philly who said he would do both at the same time and give me the OK to ride and skate. Surgery done first week of October, my rehab was walking, and I started riding again in mid December. Since that time I am back to riding regularly and playing ice hockey. The walk to the barn is not a slow painful task. Why wait? The writing is probably on the wall. Go for it!
                    Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!


                    • #11
                      Toller, Trammadol is counter-indicated because I guess it is a similar drug class or works on similar things...

                      I am sure that joint replacement is a good thing for some, but just be careful.

                      My good friend and mentor has never been the same since her surgery, and the surgery went really well. But there has been nerve stuff (numbness) that wasn't there before, and some other issues...
                      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                      • Original Poster

                        I have not seen the orthopedist yet. The earliest they could see me is mid Feb. I am on the cancellation list. I wonder how long the down time is w/a hip replacement? I am a care giver of the animals, (work off some of the horse's board), and my husband who does not drive and is partially paralyzed and I care for another lady who is mentally challenged that resides with us. I also run my own business out of the house and it is somewhat physically demanding. I do not think any time would be a good time for me to be convalescing. One step at a time. It seems I would need a Dr. to approve a replacement for insurance. I am not riding until I see the Dr. and what the options are. I am interested to hear more about the "scoping" and if I am a candidate. At this point all I know is why I hurt riding. Being "down" for any length of time is an over whelming thought.


                        • #13
                          Yep - hip scope is what I had in April...You just have to have 'issues' to be a candidate for the scope. Whether or not they actually try to FIX it via scope is something else again.

                          They can see really, really quickly via scope just how bad the arthritis is. First guy I went to would have pulled out and told me I needed a THR due to the level of damage in the joint (even tho not much showed up on X-ray). Second guy is one of the 'scope gods' and tried to fix it anyhow....

                          Pinto - I've been on crutches since April, and my pelvis is sitting directly on the femur. I don't have just a whole lotta choice at this point.


                          • #14
                            Cfourhorses - what part of the country are you in? I could schlep you some names....

                            It sounds like the other replacement poster had direct anterior replacement - which is what I'm scheduled for as well. Faster recovery (altho you do get the chance of numbness in the upper thigh...but I'll take that chance!).

                            I also have names of some scope people here and there.


                            • #15
                              I was gone 88 days

                              I was gone from the daily care of my animals for 88 days ~ toughest part was that ! "That" being gone - my absence was extended about three weeks due to a family illness but all the same I would not have been able to do water buckets and the stall cleaning ... any sooner than 88 days . When I returned I had to be careful but really was able to do everything again~ I am glad I waited the full 88 days. Ask me another question ? I remember it all - the roughest part for me was the missing my life ~ having never ever been laid up or in the hospital !I wish I had l"HEARD" my medical crew who said "JUST LET IT HAPPEN ~ THE HEALING ~ DON"T RUSH IT ~ RELAX ! Just not my nature - but boy was it nice to spend the first full day at the barn again !!!
                              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                              • #16
                                You could do it ~ you can do it !

                                [ Being "down" for any length of time is an over whelming thought.[/quote]Title should have read ~ If I could do it ~ you can do it ! I repeat I know where you are - you can do this if the doctor says you need a THR ~ if I could you can !! I promise - I can give you all types of tips and Jingles !!! Cothers can keep your spirits up !!!
                                Last edited by Zu Zu; Jan. 4, 2010, 09:21 PM. Reason: change title to ~ If I could do it you can do it !
                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                • Original Poster


                                  Thank you everyone. Wow, at least I do not feel so alone anymore! This does not sound like an easy thing, (or at least a quick thing), to fix
                                  I see the pain Dr. 2/15, the receptionist for the orthopedist said to ask him to inject my hips....it is a starting place......
                                  Thank you everyone, you are so kind to take the time to share w/me. I would have NEVER imagined this to happen....I am the type of person that works even when running a fever....I rode until my 8th month of pregnancy, I was mowing the field on the tractor the day I delivered.....

                                  I am in NY state.
                                  Last edited by Cfourhorses; Jan. 4, 2010, 10:03 PM. Reason: Added info.


                                  • #18
                                    Scoping will just take a better peek with a leetle camera.
                                    Xrays are not perfect by a long shot. Can't tell ya how many folks had xrays that "did not look that bad" and when the ortho got in there he could not believe how awful it looked. Stuff hides!! Most severe hip problems at a young-ish age are caused by 1) previous serious injuries 2) rheumatoid (inherited, not the usual wear and tear) arthritis or 3) a congenital hip socket deformity........think big ball in a too shallow socket.
                                    Spurs are NOT caused by stiffness. They are caused by something not wearing properly. Stiffness is a result and not a cause.
                                    Injections will decrease inflammation but they will do nothing to get rid of spurs. If you have spurs they are causing the inflammation so the source of the problem is still there. The spurs have to go.
                                    Family doctors are NOT the best source of otho referrals. Even if he is the guy that has to write a referral for you, shop around on your own for the best guy your insurance will participate with. Ask at the local therapy offices for who they think are the docs whose patients get better faster/with fewer complications. They are NOT all equally skilled!!!
                                    Non surgical:

                                    try different saddles
                                    one neighbor of mine with arthritis had to switch from QHs to Tennesee Walkers for her trail rides for a smoother, narrower horse.
                                    Providence Farm


                                    • #19
                                      Also - if you are going to try injections, they can inject HA into the hip.

                                      From what the radiologist who did mine said some people who aren't too far gone can get relief from the HA injections for quite some time.

                                      Be prepared to hurt after the injections...your joint doesn't like getting all the fluid in it.

                                      Also - it takes about 3 days for the cortisone to take effect, and about a week for the HA.

                                      It DID make a difference for me, but I was so far gone it didn't last long.

                                      Also - my insurance wouldn't pay for the HA - I had to pay for it myself (kind of like getting the good stuff in a hock....I think it was about $300).

                                      And like the previous poster said - both docs I talked to re: scope said that they were suprised ALL THE TIME when they actually got in the joint. Apparently things have to be VERY advanced to show on x-ray.


                                      • #20
                                        Finding the right pain meds that work for you is a biggie. I take Cymbalta --- which helps with pain as well as with depression (which is aggravated by pain). I've taken diclofenac for years, and it's the only NSAID that works for me (and I think I've tried them all!) Acupuncture may help you ---- it helps my arthritis. There are also lidocaine pain patches that can help a lot --- you can wear one up to 18 hours a day right over the areas causing the pain.

                                        What they say about the age for various replacement surgeries isn't really gospel. I had both of my knees replaced before I was 50. Made a huge difference.

                                        Be sure you get a good orthpod. My mom had a knee replaced by a total jerk --- he was a druggie who was arrested shortly afterwards for DUI, possession of crack, possession of paraphanalia, etc. --- she ended up unable to walk even after another doctor tried to correct the mess the first one made.