Hip osteonecrosis, also known as avascular necrosis of the hip, is caused by disruption of the blood supply to the femoral head (ball) in the hip joint. The bone in the hip joint is constantly regenerating itself and if the bone cells lose their blood supply then bone and joint destruction may occur and lead to severe pain and arthritis in the joint.
Who is at risk for this?
Osteonecrosis has multiple potential identified risk factors including:
› Prior hip trauma (dislocation, fracture)
› Excessive alcohol use
› History of use of oral corticosteroid medicines
› Medical conditions such as Caisson disease (diver’s disease or “the bends”), sickle cell disease, myeloproliferative disorders, Gaucher’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease, arterial embolism, thrombosis, and vasculitis.
Even if you do not have any of the risk factors listed above, you can still develop osteonecrosis.
Osteonecrosis is a slowly developing disease (sometimes over years) that can present in different stages (see cartoon image). You may experience one or more of these common symptoms:
› Pain and stiffness in the joints
› Swelling in one or more joints
› Continuing or recurring pain or tenderness in a joint
› Difficulty using or moving a joint in a normal manner
› Warmth and redness in a joint
› Dull, aching pain in the groin, outer thigh or buttocks
› Pain that is worse in the morning and lessens with activity
› Increased pain and stiffness with vigorous activity › Pain that limits your movements or makes walking difficult