Multiple Diagnoses & Pain Before and After Hip Arthroscopy

In January of 2011, while at work, I experienced a shooting pain in my left buttock (which I did not understand at the time was really part of my hip). I was unable to sit, or bend over for hours and had continual excruciating pain for days.

When I saw my primary care doctor, she suspected a problem with my sacroiliac joint and wrote me out of work for a week. When the pain persisted, I took another week off. At the time of the injury, I was in my best shape ever...had lost 50 lbs and was incredibly fit, doing a moderately laboring job working in a grocery store and at the gym 5-6x/week.

After weeks of this problem, I was still only able to work part-time, the worker's comp sent me to an "Independent Medical Exam" and no surprise - he said I was fine. After discussing with my doctor, I went out of work "indefinitely", using FMLA to keep my job. (I am currently still out, awaiting trial with insurance company later this month).

I was referred in April 2011 to a physiatrist who suspected a labral tear in my hip. An MRI confirmed this, and also showed FAI. In July of 2011 I had surgery to fix both of these problems. After 8 weeks on crutches (minimal load-bearing due to bone scraping for FAI) I was only in moderate physical therapy. I had to scale back more than once due to major pain and suspected tendinitis of the hip flexor.

All along, I have been experiencing strong pain in my lower back and eventually was sent for MRI of lumbosacral region by the physiatrist. Great news - there is NOTHING wrong with my spine. But why all the pain?

So back to PT for me - at this point it's been 6 months of therapy with average progress in the hip, but less than stellar help with the back.

Since being "dismissed" from PT in February, and being told to "aggressively pursue physical activity", I have done just that. I am in the gym 5 days/week. Cardio (bike or arc trainer) every day, stretch/yoga 2x week and strength training (my PT program) 2-3x/week.

I have noticed that while I am able to do these activities, I cannot endure prolonged standing (it causes pain in my OTHER hip), prolonged walking (causes pain in hip/buttocks of both legs) and sitting for too long is uncomfortable but not entirely "painful".

From my first step out of bed I have pain in my hip and my back. I have been seeing a massage therapist for months now, who has recently been working on my psoas muscle. It's extremely painful, but has helped with my hip flexion and ROM, not so much my back. I have had work on my piriformis as well, as multiple people (PT, trainer, massage therapist) suspected it is "weak". In addition, everything I read about sacroiliac join pain describes what I feel.

I keep going for follow-ups with the surgeon but there is no relief. On my last visit I had a cortisone shot for bursitis on the outer hip (was told this can happen in the surgical site?) but it was not successful.

Am beginning to wonder if the surgery did anything, or if the real problem is still there...

I'm considering seeing a sports medicine specialist to help me diagnose possible problems in my routine and my muscles/joints. I am only 37 years old, with NO previous problems in this area and desperately want to get back to my previous level of activity (and regular life would be nice!!). I can't imagine living like this for the rest of my life.

Any advice out there?

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Jun 18, 2012
Hip tear
by: Anonymous

Hi there,

Did you ever get an answer because I'm in a similar sittuation. But not as severe as yours. I would like to hear what ended up happening. You can contact me at: (and note hip somewhere in by line so I don't delete). Thank you in advance for any help.

Oct 04, 2012
Femoroacetabular Impingement
by: Anonymous

I had very similar problem. Torn labrum and femoroacetabular impingement. A lot of surgeons are doing these surgeries and shouldn't. My left hip started to hurt after the right was operated on. It lasted 1 year and now I need resurfacing.

Mar 12, 2013
Hip Buttock Pain
by: dave

Hey when I read this, I thought I was reading about myself. I even asked my wife to read it. The only difference is I've had the pain for 10 years now.

I've lost count of how many scans, doctors, orthos, chirps, physios, massage therapists and anyone else that I thought could help. And it has cost me thousands.

Once, after experiencing a painful episode from walking, I consulted an orthopedic surgeon who told me it was in my head and I was making it up for attention.

Like most people on this site I to was very fit and active prior to this problem, working as a personal trainer. I would give my left pinky finger to find someone to fix the problem.

Mar 15, 2014
by: Anonymous

Just like everyone else I used to be in great shape and very physical. I'm a 51 year old women and an ex-runner. While running I had excruciating pain in my left butt/hip. My first MRI showed I had strained my gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles, edema, tendinopathy, and bursitis in both hips.

Now it's one year later and I’ve had 5 MRIs, 5 x-rays, 7 months of PT, 13 orthopedics, 2 spine specialists (who say there's nothing wrong with me) and finally pain management who probably did way too many procedures.

Of course I allowed this since all I wanted to do was sit, stand or bend. I didn't think I was asking a lot. The first ortho said I had bursitis in my left IT Band. That's when the injections started. My 4th ortho diagnosed me with SI Joint dysfunction. The first injection seemed to help but for 3 days. The second injection only put me in more pain.

The doctor also said there was nothing more he could do for me since it had to be all musculoskeletal and to go back to PT which I did. But PT seemed to make me worse since he only worked on my back.

I then had 2 bilateral nerve blocks at L1-5 and SI 1-3. Then I had 2 separate RF procedures. L1-5 and SI1-3. Then 3 epidurals with 2 more sets of nerve blocks. I also had multiple nerve blocks in ALL of my facet joints.

My pain management doctor then wanted to surgically implant a spinal stimulator for pain. I told him I just wanted to get better. And someone please diagnose me with something other than..


I decided to go to another orthopedic that works on professional sports teams and is very well known. So my new very well known doctor said once again, "THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!"

I asked him why can't I walk longer then 10 minutes. I actually feel the piriformis rub on the trochanter. I even drew circles around it in marker to show someone. I can't do anything without the pain shooting down my leg or feeling or my hip killing me. Or standing for longer then 10 min and then it starts in my back.

Like now while I'm typing this. He said it's all due to having too many procedures. Take 2 months off from anyone touching me. No more PT. Rub an anti inflammatory cream on my aches and pains and take yoga 2x a week. I'm meeting with a yoga instructor next week and we'll see.

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Stephen O'Dwyer, cnmt

Neuromuscular Therapist & Pain Relief Researcher

Stephen O'Dwyer, CNMT


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