Avascular Necrosis of the Hip

Avascular necrosis of the hip takes place when the bone at the head of the femur (thigh bone) that fits in the hip socket weakens and collapses. This occurs slowly as the bone dies and experiences small breaks. This condition can lead to painful arthritis in the hip. Anyone can be affected by avascular necrosis, but it is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50.


Avascular necrosis of the hip occurs when the bone experiences an interruption or reduction of blood supply. Blood allows the cells of the bone to grow and make repairs. When circulation is cut off, bone cells will die. There are a number of factors that can lead to lost blood supply, including injuries, cancer treatments, fatty deposits in the blood vessels, and diseases such as sickle cell anemia. Blood flow can also be impacted by alcoholism and medications.


Symptoms are gradual and most people do not notice the early stages of avascular necrosis. Pain will gradually become noticeable in the hip or buttocks, especially during physical activity. As the condition becomes more severe, it will be difficult to put weight on the hip and pain could occur while laying down.


Physicians will assess your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam to check the joints for tenderness and range of motion will also take place. Imaging tests such as x-rays may be used to identify bone changes in later stages of avascular necrosis.


Anti-inflammatory, osteoporosis, blood thinners, and cholesterol lowering medications may be used to treat early stages of avascular necrosis. Rest and physical therapy are also effective. Because symptoms form gradually and may not be noticed until the condition is advanced, physicians could recommend surgery.

How Can We Help You?

At Insight, we strive to be available for our patients and make healthcare as simple and seamless as we can. If you have questions, need additional information, or would like to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!