Today, after a very, very long wait that would embarrass anyone keeping a record of NHS waiting times, I saw a very lovely orthopaedic surgeon who was as gentle, open and honest as his colleague, who I saw over a year ago, was not. I knew that the chronic pain in my hips and back wasn't sinister, and I knew that the back pain was really subsidiary to the hip pain... I'd just been waiting over a year for the results of the investigations that allow a precise diagnosis to be made.
So now I know that I have bilateral gluteal tendinopathy (and not as had been assumed trochanteric bursitis) which in plain language is mainly an aging effect (thanks) that means the tendons holding me together are caught up in a tear-repair process that will take many years to resolve itself.
The huge positive, from my viewpoint, is that walking is not making it worse, and in fact is beneficial - hurrah! However, other forms of exercise, notably swimming and cycling, are meant to be even better. As swimming isn't really going to work for me (surgical redesign means one shoulder gets very sore if I swim more than a few lengths) it's looking like I need to get on a bike.
I'm not a great cycling fan, but hey ho, if it helps... So I am now researching suitable bicycles and suitable places to start riding (you will have seen the European Championship cycle road races... Glasgow is one big hill (or several actually)). If it helps my hips, keeps me fit and avoids me clogging up waiting lists for overstretched NHS departments, then all to the good.