When it comes to seeing a hip specialist, you might need to book an appointment for several reasons. There are times when the cause of hip issues is not readily apparent and one of these is when bone in the area dies. This can also be referred to as osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis. This can happen when someone disrupts the supply of blood to the bones that make up the hip joint.

The Facts About Bone Death

Just like it sounds, bone tissue dies because it does not get the oxygen and nutrients that it requires for survival as a result of an interrupted supply of blood. In the initial stages, it is possible to not experience any symptoms with this condition. However, this can change as it starts to get worse, with varying degrees of pain being very common. In some cases, both of the hips are affected and this can cause even greater pain. As the discomfort gets worse, you might find it hard to maintain your mobility. 

If this condition is not treated, complications are possible. These might include a complete collapse of the bone and severe arthritis. 

Exploring the Causes

Knowing what can disrupt the flow of blood is important because if you experience any of the causes, you can talk to your doctor about keeping an eye on the affected area. The following are considered to be common causes of disrupting blood flow:

  • Bone or joint trauma
  • Certain diseases, such as sickle cell anemia
  • Fatty deposits developing in the blood vessels

Unfortunately, the exact cause is not always known. In fact, up to 25 percent of patients are unable to identify an obvious cause.

Diagnostic Process 

It is important that you do not allow this condition to go undiagnosed. If you suspect it, immediately talk to your doctor to start the diagnostic process. The following are common tests for this condition:

  • Physical examination
  • Taking your medical history
  • Imaging studies
  • Blood testing

 Treatment Options 

It is important to get started with treatment right away since the options ultimately depend on how much damage the affected bone has sustained. Medications are a common part of the treatment process and they might include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Osteoporosis medications
  • Blood thinners

Your doctor might also recommend exercise, rest and electrical stimulation. Many patients also require surgery.

You can see that death of bone tissue, especially in such a major joint like the hip, is definitely something that you want to have treated immediately. Now that you have the facts, if you believe this is something that you are experiencing, do not delay making an appointment with a hip specialist.

Getting Started

Request a consultation with one of the hip specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online. OSI offers anterior, posterior, and robotic surgical options for hip replacement.

OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries.

OSI has outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.