AVN occurs when bone dies because it doesn't get enough blood flow. The femoral head is the “ball” of the ball-and-socket joint in your hip.
The thighbone (your femur) fits into the cup-shaped socket of your pelvis. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments hold the joint in place.
Without enough blood flowing to this joint, the bone dies and the joint weakens resulting in bone necrosis.
Other names for AVN include:
AVN often occurs in long bones like the femur. Unlike other bone disorders, this happens most often in men between age 40 and 50.
Untreated injuries and diseases can cause AVN.
Other causes include:
AVN risk factors include:
Left untreated, AVN can cause the tissue in the hip joint to die. Eventually, the bone can collapse.
In some cases, drugs like corticosteroids can cause this condition to worsen.
If you've taken corticosteroids for a while, talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication to lower your risk of AVN.
The best way to prevent AVN is to maintain strength and flexibility. Be sure to warm up before any physical activity and include strength training in your workouts.
To talk to a sports medicine expert about your risk of AVN, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
The links below will open a new browser window.
UPMC's HealthBeat Blog:
From our Health Library:
In the early stages of this bone disorder, you may not display any symptoms.
As it progresses, you may have the following AVN symptoms:
Aching can occur in the hip, groin, or buttock. You may also have pain in the knee.
For many people, rest helps relieve the pain.
In most cases, an orthopedic surgeon will diagnose AVN.
He or she will conduct a physical exam to check for pain and tenderness at the joint.
Your doctor may also order imaging tests to see the damage.
These tests include:
To make an appointment or learn more about AVN, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
The first goal of AVN treatment is to prevent further damage to the hip and give the bone a chance to heal.
Treatment also focuses on:
Your doctor will first try conservative treatment for your AVN.
Electrical stimulation is another nonsurgical treatment option for AVN. This provides electrical currents to help your body produce new bone.
Your doctor may also prescribe drugs, depending on the cause of your AVN.
These can include:
Sooner or later, most people with AVN need surgery as the condition worsens.
Surgical options for AVN include:
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com