Orthopedist Questions Arthritis

I have hip pain due to hip arthritis, but now my knees are also hurting. What could be the reason?

I am suffering from hip arthritis due to which I have some radiating pain in my hips. However, now the pain is also extending on to my knees. Is the arthritis spreading? What should I do?

11 Answers

Painful knees may be the result of referred pain from the hips, a secondary overuse syndrome from compensation for the hips, an entirely separate problem or additional knee arthritis. You should have this evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon.
Hip arthritis can sometimes produce pain in the knee joint area where there is actually no problem with the knee itself and we call this referred pain. Or it's possible that you may be developing knee arthritis on a separate basis. You need to be evaluated by your physician therapist or chiropractor.
Most hip pain will radiate into the knees but there may be arthritis in the knees as well. But it is not spreading. If you have arthritis in one joint you more than likely have it in others.
Not necessarily, in fact as the hip OA worsens it can cause the pain to radiate to the knees. Your knee's may be completely normal. If your hips are getting that bad it sound like it's time to proceed with hip replacement surgery. The implants are better now and there are minimally invasive techniques that will allow a more rapid recovery and ability to weight bear immediately following surgery. I bet that your knees will feel better as well.
Often hip pain refers to the knees and their pain is relieved after hip replacement
You may be interested to learn that painful arthritic hips often refer pain to the knee area (on the same side). Of course, one could have a separate knee problem, but usually not.
It is possible that you have arthritis in the knees also. It may be that the biomechanics of the knee are off because of the hop arthritis and hence the knees and are painful as a result. An X-ray of the knees would help to narrow down the cause of the knee pain

It is very possible that the pain in your knees is being referred (coming from) your hips. It could also be possible that you have arthritis in your knees as well (hope not).

Hope it helps,

Dr. Bose
Good morning, this is a great question. I am about to start my office hours and will likely get this question in person. People with hip arthritis have pain and stiffness of their hip joints. They feel pain in the groin region. As the arthritis gets worse over time, the joint becomes stiff. People tend to have a limited ability to turn their legs inward. This is called a loss of internal rotation. This can put stress on people’s knees. The knee attempts to compensate for the lack of hip motion and can become painful. In addition, a stiff painful hip can refer pain to the knee. This has to do with the way nerves are anatomically oriented.

Another possibility is that patients can develop concurrent arthritis of the knee. This is separate and distinct from the hip arthritis. Arthritis has a genetic as well as a lifestyle component. People that get arthritis in one joint are subject to an increased risk of the condition in other joints. A thorough physical exam and X-rays can be helpful in determining the cause of your knee pain. There are non-operative solutions to mild knee arthritis.

I hope this information has been helpful. Have a great day.

James W. Cahill, MD

Knee pain certainly can be referred from hip pathology. It may also result from altered gait from your hip pain or may originate from your knee from arthritis or any other intra-articular pathology. I would recommend having standing knee X-rays and evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon to help determine the cause of your knee pain. Hope this helps!

Edward W. Choung, D.O., M.S.
You will want to see your physician and have them examine you for knee arthritis.