Hip Avascular Necrosis | DrBurke

What is hip avascular necrosis?

Our bodies need a steady supply of blood to nourish us. The blood has many nutrients that are essential to our everyday living. Even our bones benefit from this precious source. Blood helps the bones grow and retain their strength. If our bodies are deprived of a certain vitamin or mineral, the internal systems begin to fail. This is one way to look at avascular necrosis of the hip. Basically, either the femur or pelvic bone do not receive enough blood flow so the joint weakens and even dies.

What causes hip AVN?

This condition is like a heart attack since the lack of blood causes this form of chronic hip pain. For heart attack patients, there is usually something blocking the blood flow. With hip AVN, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what disrupts the blood supply. Doctors have found some causes of hip avascular necrosis though. Causes of hip AVN include the following:

  • Trauma from a previous hip fractures or other injuries
  • Lupus or other diseases of the immune system
  • Side effects from certain steroid medications like prednisone

Unfortunately, AVN relates to other conditions. For example, if a patient suffers from bone fractures or lupus, they have a higher risk of avascular necrosis.

How do I know if I have hip avascular necrosis?

Of course, an orthopedic physician can diagnose hip AVN. Patients may notice the symptoms before visiting a doctor though. At first, AVN patients might feel similar pains that a patient with arthritis would. The hip will experience chronic pain along with these symptoms later:

  • Groin pain
  • Stiffness in the hip joint
  • Tenderness when putting any pressure on the hip
  • Developing a physical disability, like limping

How do I prevent hip AVN?

Taking caution and caring for your overall health is the first step in preventing avascular necrosis. For the hip or other joints, AVN can progress to bone death in less than a year. Especially for patients with preexisting conditions, make sure to follow this advice:

  • Treat bone fractures immediately
  • Strengthen the hip bones and muscles with regular exercise
  • Understand the side effects that accompany any medications you take