The hips, knees, shoulders, feet and hands include the bones most likely to be affected by avascular necrosis, according to Mayo Clinic. Sometimes patients experience the condition bilaterally, such as in both hands or both hips.
Avascular necrosis is a condition in which bone tissue dies because of a lack of blood supply, Mayo Clinic reports. It leads to small breaks in the bone, and over time, the entire bone may collapse. The condition can happen at any age, but it is most common in men between the ages of 30 and 60.
Patients sometimes develop necrosis when a bone break or dislocation interrupts the blood supply to the bone, Mayo Clinic says. Other risk factors include prolonged use of high-dose steroid medications and excessive alcohol use. It is important to seek immediate treatment for any potential breaks or dislocations, so that if blood flow is interrupted, the bone can be set or repositioned to keep blood flowing.
Most patients have no symptoms in the early stages of avascular necrosis, explains Mayo Clinic. Over time they may notice their bone hurts when they put weight on it. As the condition worsens, it may hurt even when the patient is lying down. Pain in the hip, which is the most joint affected by the condition, may radiate into the thigh, groin or buttocks.