Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Great News!

It's bursitis! I know most people who have bursitis probably don't think that's a wonderful thing but what's great may depend on the alternative.

You see, I had two hip replacements nearly 11 years ago and things have been great -- until last week when I started to have hip pain.  And then it got worse.  Then I learned I needed a root canal because I had an infection in one of my teeth which wasn't diagnosed for nearly a week.  (Going to the dentist is my least favorite thing to do but this time I was grateful someone cancelled his/her appointment because I was able to get in earlier.)  Anyone who's had a joint replacement knows that an untreated infection, especially in the mouth, can lead to problems for a prosthetic joint.  It seems the bacteria head straight to that artificial joint.  If that happens, the joint is removed and an IV antibiotic pumped in.  After about 6 weeks a new prosthetic joint can be put in.  That's at least 12 weeks of very limited mobility.

My personal physician took blood tests to determine the possibility of infection and they came back normal.  I was so relieved.  But there was still the pain telling me that whatever the problem was hadn't been resolved.  My doctor said she wanted me to see a hip surgeon soon -- "soon" being a repetitive theme in the conversation.  I was able to get an appointment the day after I called.

You know how not knowing is worse than knowing, even if what you learn is worse than what you hoped for?  Maybe that's because when you don't know it's easy to imagine the worst.  That's the situation I was in.  Maybe a bone was broken.  Maybe the joint replacement was worn; or loose; or broken.  I'm not a worrier but it's hard not to wonder about possibilities.

I could have hugged the doctor when he said it was bursitis.  I'm sure he has probably never seen a joyful response to that diagnosis (unless it was from another joint replacement patient in a similar situation to mine).

Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, a pouch that cushions the soft tissue over a bone.  There are bursae in all the major joints of the body.  It's pretty painful, it's hard to walk, hard to find a comfortable position in bed, hard to stand....  The doctor was willing to give me a steroid but I chose the other option:  try NSAIDs to relieve the pain and stop doing whatever caused the problem.  I don't know what I was doing that caused the problem because I've only been doing the things I regularly do.  But I've been taking it a little easy.  It is beginning to feel better already.

What a wonderful blessing!

If you want to know more there's a great article at OrthoInfoHip Bursitis.

I hope you're healthy!



  1. Glad to hear it's "only" bursitis! :) Now, hopefully, you can kick that as well.

  2. Nancy, I, too have bursitis in the left hip. It causes a great deal of pain, not only in the hip, but down the side of my leg, too, and even sometimes in the lower back. My orthopedist injects it with a steroid and numbing medication and it feels better for about 2.5 months. I can get the injections every 3 months. I am already on NSAIDS for arthritis, so the injections were the way to go for me.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  3. So glad you're feeling better :)

  4. I'm sorry to hear that you're hurting, but happy to hear that you know what the cause is and that you now have a course of action. Will keep you in my prayers for healing, and hope that each day you are feeling better.

    1. Thanks so much, Karin. The pain is all but gone, for which I'm hugely grateful. When I start to feel it, motrin works wonders and I'm set to go. I know lots of people have awful, ongoing pain with bursitis. I hope it never gets that bad.

  5. I'm playing catch up on my comments, Nancy. I hope things are going well with your hips. This has been a hard winter in so many ways. We are bracing here for one more winter blast. 5-8" predicted tonight. Oh well.


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