Osteonecrosis is a condition that may be referred to by other names such as bone infarction, aseptic necrosis, and ischemic bone necrosis but it generally refers to necrosis (cellular death) of certain bone tissues due to inadequate blood supply. Osteonecrosis of the hip is a common form of the condition Osteonecrosis and also involves bone cell death.
Osteonecrosis of the hip results in very significant degeneration of hip joint and a severe destruction of the head of the femur (the thigh one) and even early detection and treatment is not a guarantee of a positive outcome.
Another reason why the condition of Osteonecrosis of the hip is potentially problematic is that it can strike people who are still fairly young; even as young as ones in their 20’s.
- The condition is specified by the death of a part of the bone in the hip area and this could be caused by physical trauma or injury, such as dislocation, fracture, and so on. This could result in damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the area and this constriction of proper blood supply could result in bone cells dying.
- The other cause for Osteonecrosis of the hip is not traumatic, or spontaneous. This doesn’t involve any direct trauma or injury and the deterioration of the bone occurs as a result of blockages in the small blood vessels that nourish the bone. This kind of Osteonecrosis of the hip usually impacts both hips and is most commonly seen to affect the head of the femur.
- One non traumatic reason for Osteonecrosis of the hip is the administration of corticosteroids, particularly prolonged and regular use.
- Osteonecrosis of the hip may also be caused by sickle cell disease, liver problems, disorder relating to clotting of blood, radiation therapy, certain kinds of tumors, Gaucher’s disease, lupus, and decompression sickness and so on.
- Alcoholism is also thought to be another significant cause of the disease.
- Certain genetic diseases also result in this condition.
- Many cases of Osteonecrosis of the hip seem to have no known cause, and there is a collapse of the bone and also problems with the supporting cartilage.
The main symptoms of Osteonecrosis of the hip:
- Sometimes Osteonecrosis may be asymptomatic and no actual symptoms may be noted.
- Pain in the hips or groin area, is the most commonly noted symptom. The pain could be constant or it may get worse or more acute with movement. Also the pain may not be restricted to the hip area, but could also radiate out and extend down the thigh and up to the knee.
- There could be difficult in walking and movement of the hip in Osteonecrosis of the hip. Stiffness of the joint is characteristic of this condition.
- The symptoms could be bilateral in some case, i.e. appear on both sides of the body (both hips).
When not caused by trauma, but due to other reason, the pain may not be sudden but may build up over the duration of many months.