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Hip Osteonecrosis

What is hip osteonecrosis?

Osteonecrosis is a chronic pain condition that involves dying bone tissue. Osteonecrosis of the hip means that the femur and pelvic bone are losing their blood supply and strength. Like hip osteoporosis where the bones weaken, osteonecrosis is a painful bone condition. Once bones, muscles or organs lose their main source of blood and nutrients, this leads to tissue death. Osteonecrosis is due to a decrease in blood supply, but the symptoms affect certain parts of the body, like the hips. In most cases, patients who are usually 50 years or older receive a hip osteonecrosis diagnosis.

What causes osteonecrosis in the hip?

Since the pelvis and femur bones are made up of tissues and blood vessels, a lack of blood supply will weaken the hip joint with hip osteonecrosis symptoms. Any condition, injury or disease that interrupts the blood flow to the hip can cause a hip osteonecrosis diagnosis. The blood carries so much nutrients that once the femur and pelvic bone lose this rich source, the bones collapse. Therefore, patients may suffer from hip osteonecrosis if they have another condition that blocks the normal flow of blood. The main list of hip osteonecrosis causes includes:

  • Conditions that affect blood flow, like blood clots or artery damage
  • Inflammation surrounding the hip bones
  • Injuries to the hip like dislocations or fractures
  • Problems with alcoholism

Some chronic hip pain conditions that do not receive treatment can develop into other pain problems. If a patient is experiencing chronic hip arthritis or chronic hip osteoporosis, both these conditions can lead to hip injury and later osteonecrosis.

How do I know if I have osteonecrosis in my hip?

The bone tissue of the pelvis and femur will start to die with hip osteonecrosis. These bones will become so weak that they collapse. Patients will feel chronic hip pain anytime there is pressure on the hip bones. Light activity like walking or standing up may have limitations due to chronic hip osteonecrosis symptoms. At first, chronic hip pain may be a vague sensation. Patients may feel their hip pain is spreading in addition to other chronic pain problems. There are other hip osteonecrosis symptoms like:

  • Inability to stand, walk or carry any weight on the hip
  • Limping when walking or leaning to one side of the body
  • Pain spreading to the lower back, buttocks or down the leg

How do I prevent hip osteonecrosis?

Osteonecrosis of the hip can overwhelm the joint in less than a year. The bones and joint may completely collapse from hip osteonecrosis. Since this painful condition progresses quickly, prevention is the best practice to avoid a hip osteonecrosis diagnosis. Protecting the hip bones and your circulatory system will ensure that blood continues to reach the bone tissue. Prevent other conditions that may lead to osteonecrosis as well. Patients can avoid hip osteonecrosis by:

  • Do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Practice good posture that allows blood flow through the body
  • Stretch and exercise every day to regulate blood flow
  • Treat blood or hip conditions early on