Avascular Necrosis

Avascular Necrosis of Hip: Causes, Symptoms!

Avascular necrosis of the hip is a debilitating condition that affects the hip joint, causing the bone tissue to deteriorate due to poor blood supply. This condition, also known as osteonecrosis or ischemic necrosis, can lead to severe pain, limited mobility, and eventually, the collapse of the hip joint. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for avascular necrosis is vital for early detection and effective management.

In this article, we will help you to know about the causes and symptoms in detail and will help you to get well aware of all this. So keep on reading till the end to know about all of this in detail!

Causes of Avascular Necrosis:

Trauma or Injury:

Avascular necrosis can result from a traumatic injury to a bone. Fractures or dislocations can damage blood vessels that supply the bone, leading to reduced blood flow and subsequent necrosis.

Long-Term Corticosteroid Use:

Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, can increase the risk of avascular necrosis. These drugs can affect blood vessel function and impair blood flow to the bones.

Alcohol Abuse:

Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken bones and also disrupt blood flow. The exact mechanism isn’t fully understood, but alcohol-related avascular necrosis is more common in heavy drinkers.

Joint Diseases:

Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), can cause inflammation and damage to the joints. This inflammation can affect blood vessels supplying the affected bones.

Blood Clotting Disorders:

Conditions that lead to an increased risk of blood clots, such as sickle cell disease or antiphospholipid syndrome, can obstruct blood flow to the bones and contribute to avascular necrosis.

Radiation Therapy:

Some individuals who have undergone radiation therapy, particularly for cancer treatment, may develop avascular necrosis in the irradiated area. Radiation can damage blood vessels and surrounding tissues.

Idiopathic (Unknown Cause):

In some cases, avascular necrosis may occur without an identifiable underlying cause. This is often referred to as idiopathic avascular necrosis and can be challenging to diagnose and manage.

Symptoms of Avascular necrosis:

Joint Pain:

One of the most common symptoms of avascular necrosis is persistent and often severe pain in the affected joint. This pain can be dull, aching, or sharp, and it typically worsens with activity or weight-bearing.

Limited Range of Motion:

Avascular necrosis can cause a reduction in the range of motion of the affected joint. This limitation can make it difficult to move the joint freely and may lead to stiffness.

Muscle Weakness:

Due to pain and limited joint mobility, individuals with avascular necrosis may experience muscle weakness around the affected joint. This weakness can further impede normal movement.

Joint Stiffness:

Stiffness is a common symptom and often accompanies pain in avascular necrosis. Patients may find it challenging to bend or move the affected joint smoothly.


Inflammation and swelling may occur in the affected joint, particularly during periods of increased pain or activity. Swelling can contribute to the discomfort and reduced mobility.


Avascular necrosis can sometimes lead to a crackling or grating sensation (crepitus) when moving the affected joint. This sensation is due to the damaged bone and joint surfaces rubbing against each other.


As the condition progresses, the affected joint may become less stable, leading to a feeling of unsteadiness or an increased risk of falls.

Pain at Rest:

In more advanced stages of avascular necrosis, individuals may experience pain even when at rest, which can disrupt sleep and overall quality of life.

Treatment Options for Avascular Necrosis of the Hip:

Non-Surgical Treatment Approaches:

When it comes to treating avascular necrosis of the hip, surgery is not always the first option. Non-surgical approaches can be effective in managing symptoms and slowing down the progression of the condition. These treatments may include rest, physical therapy, and using assistive devices like crutches or canes. So, take a break, get some help, and let your body recover naturally.

Medications and Pain Management:

We get it, dealing with pain is a real headache. But fear not, because there are medications available to help manage the discomfort caused by avascular necrosis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide relief by reducing inflammation. In some cases, pain management techniques such as injections or nerve blocks may be recommended. Just remember, pain may be a part of your life right now, but it doesn’t have to control it.

Assistive Devices and Lifestyle Modifications:

Sometimes, a little assistance goes a long way. Using assistive devices like crutches or canes can help alleviate pressure on the affected hip, giving it some much-needed rest. Lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding activities or positions that worsen symptoms, can also make a big difference. So, embrace the cane and adjust your lifestyle to give your hip a chance to heal.

Core Decompression:

No, we’re not talking about decompressing your stressful life (although that’s not a bad idea). Core decompression is a surgical procedure that aims to relieve pressure within the hip joint and improve blood flow to the affected area. It involves removing a small portion of the bone to stimulate new blood vessel growth. Think of it as creating a little highway for fresh blood to reach the damaged hip.

Bone Grafting and Transplantation:

In some cases, getting a hip “transplant” might be the best solution. Bone grafting and transplantation involve removing a part of healthy bone from another area of your body or using a donor bone to replace the damaged bone in your hip. It’s like giving your hip a brand-new lease on life, with a one-of-a-kind bone makeover.

Total Hip Replacement:

When all else fails, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the damaged hip joint is completely replaced with an artificial joint made of metal or plastic. It’s like upgrading your hip to a bionic version that won’t give you any more trouble. Just think of it as getting a shiny new hip that may even be better than the original!

Avascular necrosis of the hip is a condition that can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Early recognition of symptoms, proper diagnosis, and timely intervention are essential for managing this condition effectively. Whether through non-surgical approaches, surgical interventions, or rehabilitation techniques, there are treatment options available to alleviate pain and improve mobility. If you are dealing with this condition, reach Dr. Lalit Modi and seek the treatment right away. He is one of the best orthopedic doctor in Jaipur you can reach and discuss about the condition you are going through. He will advice you for everything required to manage the condition!


1. Can avascular necrosis of the hip be prevented?

Often, avascular necrosis of the hip is caused by underlying medical conditions or traumatic injuries that are beyond our control. However, there are preventive measures that can minimize the risk, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and minimizing trauma to the hip joint.

2. How is avascular necrosis of the hip diagnosed?

The diagnosis of avascular necrosis typically involves a combination of physical examinations, medical history evaluation, imaging techniques (such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans), and blood tests. These diagnostic tools help assess the extent of bone damage and determine the most suitable treatment approach.

3. What are the treatment options for avascular necrosis of the hip?

Treatment options for avascular necrosis range from non-surgical approaches, such as medications, pain management, and assistive devices, to surgical interventions, including core decompression, bone grafting, or total hip replacement. The choice of treatment depends on factors such as the stage of the disease, the extent of bone damage, and the individual’s overall health condition.

4. What is the prognosis for individuals with avascular necrosis of the hip?

The prognosis for avascular necrosis varies depending on several factors, including the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis and the effectiveness of the chosen treatment. Early detection and intervention generally offer better outcomes. It is important to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an appropriate treatment plan and manage the condition to minimize pain and maintain hip joint function.