Difficulty of Diagnosing the Origin of Lower Leg Pain in Patients With Both Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Hip Joint Osteoarthritis

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Abstract

Study Design.

Case series.

Objective.

To present the difficulty of diagnosing the origin of lower leg pain in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and hip joint arthritis.

Summary of Background Data.

Pain arising from a degenerated hip joint is sometimes localized to the lower leg. Patients with lumbar spinal disease may also show radicular pain corresponding to the lower leg area. If patients present with both conditions and only pain at the lower leg, it is difficult to determine the origin of the pain.

Methods.

We reviewed 420 patients who had leg pain with lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosed by myelography, computed tomography after myelography, or magnetic resonance imaging. Pain only at the ipsilateral lateral aspect of the lower leg but slight low back pain or pain around the hip joint was shown in 4 patients who had lumbar spinal stenosis and hip osteoarthritis. The symptoms resolved after L5 spinal nerve block, but remained after lidocaine infiltration into the hip joint. We performed decompression and posterolateral fusion surgery for these 4 patients.

Results.

Leg pain did not resolve after lumbar surgery in all patients. Conservative treatment was not effective from 6 to 12 months, so ultimately we performed ipsilateral total hip replacement for all patients and they became symptom-free.

Conclusion.

It is difficult to determine the origin of lower leg pain by spinal nerve block and hip joint block in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and hip osteoarthritis. We take this into consideration before surgery.

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