Osteonecrosis

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Osteonecrosis is a disease caused by reduced blood flow to bones in the joints. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

In people with healthy bones, new bone is always replacing old bone. In osteonecrosis, the lack of blood causes the bone to break down faster than the body can make enough new bone. The bone starts to die and may break down.

You can have osteonecrosis in one or several bones. It is most common in the upper leg. Other common sites are your upper arm and your knees, shoulders and ankles. The disease usually strikes a person in their thirties, forties or fifties.

Inititally, you might not have any symptoms. As the disease gets worse, you will probably have joint pain that becomes more severe. You may not be able to bend or move the affected joint very well.

No one is sure what causes the disease. Risk factors include:

Long-term steroid treatment

Alcohol abuse

Joint injuries, and

Having certain diseases, including arthritis and cancer

Treatments include medicines, using crutches, limiting activities that put weight on the affected joints, electrical stimulation and surgery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.