Right hip pain with posterior swelling

by Pam
(Portland, OR)

Patrick's Faber test

Patrick's Faber test

Right hip pain with posterior swelling is a not uncommon complaint. It could be any one of many things.


I am a big advocate of Chiropractic treatments. I have had right-side, posterior hip pain for 9 months. I can see swelling above the joint looking at my back in a mirror. I have pain while lying on the hip but not when lying on my back. However, it is very painful to climb stairs and upon standing from a sitting position.

It came on suddenly upon rising from bed one morning. Walking is not affected, but I can no longer run or run up stairs as I used too.

I am a female, 63 years old with a BMI within body weight and height, but at the top of the range now. (135 at 5' 2") previously I was 120 lbs. at 120 lbs.

I had extensive foot surgery 1 1/2 years ago to correct hammer toes bunion and a detached plantar plate. My podiatrist pinned my second and third toes, but not the fourth or fifth. My foot now does not properly hit with all toes on a walking surface due to this. The pain sometimes radiates up my anterior lower (calf) leg, painfully to the knee, as well as the hip pain. So, I am not sure if it's my hip is causing this or my foot.

I can use my elliptical machine without pain...it's climbing stairs that is the most painful and it REALLY hurts. We have a two-story house. A pinching feeling that runs deeply into my hip and into my knee. I feel as though I cannot 'push' my weight up on the right side. I have had two adjustments by my chiropractor, 3 months ago.

For the record, I also have uneven leg lengths. My left leg being longer by 3/4" and 1 1/2" in circumference, since birth. But, I have been athletic and in good shape mostly until now. I have gained close to 20 lbs in the past year, due to lack of ability to do things and pain. Possibly that is the problem. I am trying to lose it now.

Thank you.

Dear Pam,
A short leg as much as 3/4" is associated with a much higher incidence of hip arthritis, and knee too, so that's where we should start.

Lie on your back and pull first the normal knee to your chest, then to the opposite shoulder, and then make a circle of your hip using the knee as a lever. Remember what you feel.
Now repeat with the naughty leg. Is there a distinct difference? Describe it to me.

Now do the Faber test, first with your normal leg, and then repeat with the painful hip. What's the difference?

Change of gait certainly can have a knock affect in the knee, hip and lower back, but let's start with the above tests.

Let me know, keeping to this thread.

Dr B

» Right hip pain with posterior swelling

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

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Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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