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).
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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 orthopaedic 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:
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