Death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply is known as Avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis. It results into tiny breaks within the bone, eventually causing the bone to collapse. It happens, when the blood flow gets obstructed to a part of the bone during dislocation or a fracture. It is also associated with long term dependency over high dose steroid medications and excessive intake of alcohol. The major joints that get affected by avascular necrosis are those of the knee, foot, hand, hip and shoulder.
Hip joint is the most affected of all joints. In a few individuals, avascular necrosis may occur bilaterally, in both hips or in both knees simultaneously. Usually, it is observed to affect people in the age group of 30 to 60 years, with around ten thousands to twenty thousands of people getting affected and developing osteonecrosis each year. Depending on risk factors that an individual has, avascular necrosis can affect older or even younger people.
Symptoms Of Avascular Necrosis
Initial Asymptomatic Avascular Necrosis
Patients usually do not show any symptoms in the early stages of avascular necrosis, but as the disease progress further, most patients do complain of a joint pain. This joint pain is initially felt, when some weight is put over the affected joint and later on, it may be experienced even while resting.
Symptoms Of Mild And Severe Avascular Necrosis
Avascular necrosis pain develops slowly and gradually, and can be mild to severe. With progress of avascular necrosis, the bone and surrounding surface of the joint may collapse, increasing pain instantly and tremendously. The pain can be so severe that it restricts the mobility of the affected joint.
In certain patients, especially those having avascular necrosis of the hip, disabling osteoarthritis may get developed. The duration from experiencing the first pain of avascular necrosis to loss of joint mobility is varying in each patient and can range from several months to more than a year.
Vital Symptoms Of Avascular Necrosis Of Hip Joint
The foremost symptom is pain while putting pressure over the hip joint during acts of sitting or standing. The pain is felt in the buttock region, groin area and downwards toward the front portion of thighs.
As the disease progresses further, one may show limping behavior while walking and experiences stiffness of the hip joint. The pain will now be present consistently, even while resting and will even hinder the sleep at night.
Persistent Pain – A Sign Of Concern
Amongst the all steroidal drugs, cortisone is the most common cause of avascular necrosis. This is observed to be used on daily basis in patients of advanced arthritis or individuals undergoing organ transplantation, to prevent donor rejection.
Excessive alcohol consumption is known to damage the blood vessels leading to avascular necrosis. Miners and deep sea divers, who work under high atmospheric pressures, are at an increased risk of damaging their blood vessels and developing Avascular Necrosis. One ought to visit the doctor, when experiences a persistent pain in any of the joints and immediately seek medical aid, in case of a dislocated joint or a broken bone.