Did you have referred pain in your knee?


Dec 18, 2017
United States United States
I just got home from an appointment for a second opinion for my right hip and knee. I had one OS tell me that I was 'a serious candidate for a THR'. But I also had a problem with my right knee that was a new development in November. The physician's assistant that I saw locally in the orthopedic clinic when it first flared up said that I had bone on bone in my right knee. She suggested a cortisone shot, which I refused since I had an appointment with an OS regarding my hip just a few days later.

I took the knee X-rays to the OS appointment and his comment was 'best knee I'm going to see all day, stop the PT because it probably contributed to the problem' (PT had put me on one of those leg extension machines and upped the weight)

I wasn't able to walk for about 2 weeks, the knee was more painful and swollen than my hip has ever been. I spent 2 weeks of icing, elevating and Tylenol. Although it has improved over the past 2 months, it still flares up from time to time and reminds me it's there when I go down stairs most days.

So today I had all new X-rays of both hips and knees. Good news is that my left hip still has plenty of spacing and hasn't really deteriorated much in the past 4 years. This OS concurs with the first and recommends a right THR.

As for the knee, he believes the continued issue is due to referred pain from my hip and thinks it will improve after a THR. He showed me both knees and that there was plenty of spacing, no bone on bone. He also said that any of the injections out there are a waste of time and money (in his opinion). Needless to say I am greatly relieved that I don't also have to consider a knee replacement. I'm schedule to have a right THR with the original OS on March 19th.

Has anyone experience referred pain in the knee that improved after a THR?
Oh yes @AJinNH I had tons of referred knee pain (and you may have it after surgery too). It seems the hip can refer pain all over the place. It can even make a healthy hip hurt due to changes in your gait. It sounds like your doc is spot on to me. It doesn’t help it hurt less, but you sound relatively normal.
Knee pain here too and my knee xrays were fine so hoping it's referred pain.

Gotta say though isn't it frustrating when one medical professional looks and sees bone on bone on the xray and another one says "best knee I have seen all day". Can someone here please explain how that is possible as it's two ends of the spectrum. @Josephine .... any thoughts? You know I had similar comments from my OS consultations. Hard to know whom to trust. I suppose the patient's symptoms are more reliable sometimes than xray.
Often the pain in my knee was worse than the pain in my hip.
After surgery, no knee pain!
I have no hip pain at all. All my pain is in my knee. I’ve seen my X-ray and my hip is totally disintegrating. Surgery is March 12, Hope limping stops!
@MammaT you are too kind, thanks for referring to me as 'relatively normal,' I've been feeling a bit of panic and anxiety the past 2 months over the recent episodes with my hip and knee and wouldn't be surprised if 'normal' wasn't the first descriptive term that came to mind :loll:

@Bumblebee I totally agree about hearing professional opinions at two ends of the spectrum, which is why I always get a second opinion. I've worked in health care my entire life and frequently attended conferences where current difficult cases were presented for discussion among several doctors. Frequently a wide range of opinions and recommendations were discussed, just like any other profession. But you'd think x-rays would be pretty clear cut. The first reading I had, that was read as bone on bone, was done by a physician's assistant. The first OS's comment was the 'best knee I'll see all day'. When I told the OS I saw yesterday about the disparity, before he looked at the x-rays he joked 'lets hope I don't give you a third opinion!' Gratefully, he not only concurred with the other OS, he showed me and my husband the x-rays in great detail so as to alleviate any lingering doubts in my mind.

@Josephine thanks for letting me know that the knee pain is common.

@Lululucy Woohoo! Thank you, that is exactly what I needed to hear. I know it isn't a guarantee, but it's a relief to know it resolved for you. I will hold on to that and hope that I have the same experience. :fingersx:
@Lucia631 welcome to the March group, I'm a week after you. Thanks for sharing your experience with your knee, I hope that it resolves for you as well. Good luck with your surgery, I'll keep you in my thoughts.
I absolutely had knee pain and that is gone now with the replacement. I still have it on the non-operated side. My hip can catch a spot when sitting that I would swear is my knee 'locking up' that I have to wiggle around in order to stand sometimes, especially after being active. Not nearly as bad as my operated side (before replacement) but on the way there.
I had terrible pain in both knees that only got slightly better after a bilateral TKR. My OS had wanted to replace my hips first but my knees hurt too badly. After a left THR, there was magically no more pain in the left knee. I tried to get a right THR, but my OS said the X-rays showed I could wait a few years. New OS gave me an injection in the right hip and the pain in the right knee went away. I’m scheduled for a THR to finally get rid of all this knee pain!
That's good to know @BusterBeans since many of us have knee pain referral from our hip. May I ask did you have more knee pain when you were sitting or laying down or when you moved it a certain way?
@BusterBeans, wow! I can’t imagine having 2 TKR only to still have pain. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I had been afraid that after a hip replacement I’d discover it was really my knee that was the issue, my knee pain can be much worse than my hip pain ever has. Fortunately I now have 2 OS on record saying it’s the other way around. Most days my hip doesn’t bother me, not even at night, but my knee hurts. I really need to be able to wrap my head around that having a THR will likely help my knee pain, it’s counter intuitive. All of the posts on this thread are reassuring and very helpful. Thank you.
It sounds strange @AJinNH, but it seems to be true. I agree would be frustrating to have 2tkr and still have knee pain from hips-especially since I’ve heard knee recovery is more painful than hips!
Yeah can relate to the pre op knee pain and shin and sometimes foot just trusting that will go after replacements.
Bumblebee, my worst knee pain came when I walked or did any other type of exercise. My hips didn’t hurt that much — some groin pain. So I really didn’t think it was coming from my hips. My new OS gave me a cortisone injection in the hip to test if it really was the right hip causing all this pain. When it was, he just asked when I wanted to scheduled the THR. And I had gone to this new OS because he’s a knee revision specialist! Thank goodness he fully questioned and tested everything.
My knee troubles started in my teen years but I assumed it was from the year round sports I was involved in. I even had a few knee dislocations during my my more athletic years. By age 22 I had to stop jogging due to my left knee pain. I went to a specialist and that is when I learned I have hip dysplasia and it was actually the hip problem causing the knee problem. Making things even worse was my hyper mobility syndrome (double jointed). Not much was offered to me outside of constant physical therapy. At 30 I found a GREAT Chiropractor who finally put me on the right track with precise daily exercises for my back and hips which kept me feeling great until I reached 39. my hips then flared up and over the years my PT’s have had a heck of a time chasing all the various pains in my entire left leg. The IT band pain was intense and constant and it landed at the side of my knee so my knee constantly throbbed as well. Sooooo painful! I’m now 47 and had my left THR 12/7 and all that agonizing pain is gone. However, I have noticed over the past 2 weeks that my left knee is sore. Almost feels bruised like but nothing real bothersome. I will see my surgeon for follow up next week and hopefully find out more about this

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Hi @smstok- knee pain afterwards not uncommon. Seems like they can torque on the knee to do the hip, so could very well be bruised. Ice was helpful. It does go away (unlike the knee pain pre-surgery).

I have severe right hip arthritis and moderate left hip arthritis, and I have a lot of referred pain in my lower legs and virtually no pain in either hip. Most of my pain is felt in the knee, ankle, shin, and sometimes, foot (mainly on the right leg, but sometimes on the left). I actually have a lot of foot pain, and if I am on my feet too long or do too much walking, my feet start to really hurt.

I am 43 and am tentatively scheduled for total hip replacement in March. At no point have my actual hip joints ever really hurt; instead, I've always had this very-hard-to-pinpoint pain syndrome affecting these other areas of my body. But I do have very stiff hips, and my hip range of motion is severely restricted, so I know that my lack of normal hip function is likely negatively impacting how I walk and move, which likely adds stress (and pain) to these other body areas.
Hi @sfbaylover my symptoms are very similar to yours.....not too much hip pain, but the limp from my right hip makes me do short steps and unbalanced gait. The majority of my pain is from my achilles (R side, which is my worst hip), also ITB pain on left knee (intermittent) and I have recently been seeing a physio for bad pain around my left outer ankle which made it difficult to walk....physio said it was a stretched/damaged ligament (same as sprain) due to the way I'm walking. Lots of massage and strengthening by up and down on toes has helped, but I guess it won't fully go until the hip is done. The other thing is a 'prickly' sort of pain that goes up and down my left shin when I'm in bed....sometimes just mildly annoying, sometimes really burning. My actual hips are more of a stiffness problem, and a bruised feeling to direct pressure, but not the grating and extreme pain that some people have. Interesting how people feel it in different ways! I'm also having my right hip done in March, so we'll know after then if it solves the leg and foot problems :fingersx:
IT Bands are something else that OS's don't seem to know much about even though so many of us patients struggle with them. Thank goodness some of the good physical therapists can help us. After my TKR's, the IT band in my right leg hurt so badly that I used to take the rolling pin from my kitchen and roll the band up and down trying to stretch it out to stop the pain. My OS just tried to give me scrips for pain meds. What I wanted was a solution. The rolling pin and an IT strap did work.

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