This condition occurs when a bone’s normal blood supply is disrupted. The affected bone cells die, and the dead bone weakens and may begin to fracture and collapse, leading to arthritis. It most commonly affects the head of the femur, but can also affect other bones in the body.
The condition is most often caused by injury, such as a break or dislocation. It can also develop as a result of heavy alcohol use, cancer treatments, prolonged use of corticosteroids, or by diseases such as Lupus or clotting disorders.
Avascular necrosis of the hip can cause pain and loss of mobility in the hip joint. Pain may be most noticeable during physical activity, but eventually the joint may hurt even when at rest. The pain can spread to the groin and down to the knee.
Although medications, exercises and rest may slow the progression of the disease, avascular necrosis of the hip will typically need to be treated with surgery. Surgical options may include core decompression, bone reshaping, osteotomy, bone grafting, or joint replacement (arthroplasty).