Osteonecrosis of the Hip

What is osteonecrosis of the hip?

Osteonecrosis of the hip is a disease caused by reduced blood flow to the bones of the joints. With reduced blood supply the bone dies and the joint breaks down. In the hip, the end of the thigh bone extending from the knee joint to the hip joint is the affected bone.

Osteonecrosis can be very painful. As the hip joint breaks down, it can also lead to arthritis in the joint. In healthy bones, new bone is always replacing the old bone, keeping bones strong. In osteonecrosis, bone breaks down faster than new strong bone can replace it. Without treatment, the disease worsens the bone break down and you may not be able to bend or move the joint well.

Causes of osteonecrosis

The risk for developing osteonecrosis is higher with the use of steroid medications, alcohol use, injury and pressure inside of the bone, as well as radiation therapy, chemotherapy and with kidney and other organ transplants. That means that people with cancer, lupus, HIV, gout, vasculitis, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis.


Orthopaedics at Main Line Health offers expert care to treat common to complex orthopaedic conditions. When treating osteonecrosis, both nonsurgical and surgical treatments are considered. You may require diagnostic testing, including lab work and imaging, to evaluate your condition and help your doctor develop a personalized treatment plan. Most people will require surgery at some point to help treat this disease.

Non-Surgical Orthopaedic Treatments

Some orthopaedic conditions are first treated with non-surgical procedures followed by surgery as the next step.

Orthopaedic Rehab

As one of the most extensive programs at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, our primary focus is to help patients build strength, mobility and endurance for a variety of orthopaedic conditions.

Orthopaedic Surgery


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