Text Size A A A

Osteonecrosis

What is Osteonecrosis?

Osteonecrosis is a condition in which bone dies due to a decrease or complete shut off of the blood supply to that bone. Osteonecrosis can occur in any bone; however it is most prevalent in the hip. 

When osteonecrosis does occur in the hip, the blood supply to the femoral head of the hip is compromised causing the femoral head to die and collapse. Over time, this collapse can develop into arthritis. Symptoms include hip pain, difficulty transitioning from sit to a standing position, pain with weight bearing, and increased pain with motion of the hip. Symptoms are usually progressive in nature over months to one year.

Common Causes and Risk Factors

  • Cause is unknown
  • Risk factors:
    • Injury or trauma to the area
    • Certain medical conditions
    • Alcoholism
    • Use of steroid medications

Examination and Diagnosis

  • History and physical exam by a musculoskeletal expert
  • X-ray
  • MRI

Treatment for the Hip

Surgical options include core decompression and total hip replacement, followed by physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion.