Avascular necrosis (AVN) care

What is avascular necrosis?

Avascular necrosis (AVN) is a condition in which the blood supply to the hip joint is cut off, causing the bone to start to die. AVN can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the hip joint (femoral head) and it may break down over time. There is no firm cause of why this condition happens. However, it is linked to sickle cell disease, steroid use and chemotherapy.

What are signs of avascular necrosis?

Hip, thigh or knee pain is one of the biggest signs. The hip can become stiff over time. Pain can come on suddenly or slowly build over time.

The condition can be diagnosed by a physical examination with a health history. X-rays and advanced imaging may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Nonsurgical treatments can include:

  • Limiting activity
  • Medicines to reduce pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest

If the hip pain does not improve with nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be needed.

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