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Osteonecrosis, also known as avascular necrosis, is a condition that can have a significant impact on joint health. At the London Osteoporosis Clinic, we believe in providing valuable information to help individuals understand and proactively manage their bone health. In this blog post, we will delve into the basics of osteonecrosis, its diagnosis, treatment options, and steps to take for those affected.

Diagnosis of Osteonecrosis

If you suspect you may have osteonecrosis or have been experiencing joint pain, seeking medical advice is crucial. Your doctor will initiate the diagnostic process by taking your medical history and performing a physical examination. These initial steps are essential in understanding your condition.

To further assess the extent of bone or joint damage and determine the stage of the disease, your doctor may recommend one or more imaging tests. These tests include:

1. X-ray

X-rays are often the first choice to rule out other causes of joint pain. While they may not detect early-stage osteonecrosis, they are vital in monitoring the disease’s progression.

2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs are highly sensitive tools for visualizing bones and joints. They can detect signs of osteonecrosis before symptoms manifest, providing valuable early diagnosis opportunities.

3. Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

CT scans offer a more precise image than X-rays and can assess the extent of bone damage. Although less commonly used than MRIs, they can still provide valuable information.

Treatment of Osteonecrosis

The primary goal of osteonecrosis treatment is to preserve joint function. Treatment options depend on several factors, including your age, the stage of the disease, and the affected bone’s condition. Here are some treatment approaches:

Nonsurgical Approaches:

  • Anti-inflammatory Medicines: These can help reduce pain and swelling associated with osteonecrosis.
  • Physical Therapy: Engaging in physical therapy can alleviate joint tenderness, stiffness and improve joint mobility.
  • Use of Assistive Devices: If the affected bone bears weight, a cane or crutches can provide support and ease pain during walking.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgical Options:

  • Core Decompression Surgery: This common surgical procedure involves drilling into the bone to lower pressure and relieve pain. It is often combined with bone grafting for enhanced healing.
  • Osteotomy: In cases with limited bone damage, surgeons may reorient the remaining bone to reduce stress on the affected joint.
  • Bone Graft: This surgical option, which can use bone from your body or a donor, aids in advanced cases.
  • Total Joint Replacement: When the joint has deteriorated significantly, total joint replacement becomes necessary. Surgeons replace damaged bone and cartilage with artificial components to alleviate pain and restore mobility.

Who Treats Osteonecrosis?

A team of healthcare professionals may be involved in osteonecrosis treatment:

  • Orthopaedic Surgeons: Specialize in bone and joint treatment and surgery.
  • Mental Health Professionals: Provide counseling for emotional well-being.
  • Occupational Therapists: Teach strategies to protect joints, minimize pain, and maintain daily activities.
  • Physical Therapists: Focus on strengthening muscles and improving joint function.
  • Primary Care Doctors: Coordinate care and provide nonsurgical treatment.
  • Rheumatologists: Specialize in bone, joint, and muscle diseases and offer nonsurgical care.

Living With Osteonecrosis

Managing osteonecrosis can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to improve your quality of life:

  • Consult your doctor about suitable exercises and activities.
  • Use cold packs for swelling and heat treatments for stiffness.
  • Consider seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups to cope with the emotional challenges associated with chronic pain.

At the London Osteoporosis Clinic, we emphasize early diagnosis and proactive management. Understanding osteonecrosis and the available treatment options is the first step toward preserving joint function and improving bone health. If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic or consult with your healthcare provider. Your well-being is our priority.

For more information and resources, visit our website: London Osteoporosis Clinic.


1. What is the primary goal of osteonecrosis treatment?

The primary goal of osteonecrosis treatment is to preserve joint function and alleviate pain.

2. Who are the healthcare professionals involved in osteonecrosis treatment?

A team of healthcare professionals, including orthopaedic surgeons, mental health professionals, occupational therapists, physical therapists, primary care doctors, and rheumatologists, may be involved in osteonecrosis treatment.

3. How can I manage osteonecrosis in my daily life?

You can manage osteonecrosis by consulting your doctor about suitable exercises, using cold packs for swelling, and seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups to cope with emotional challenges.

4. What imaging tests are used for the diagnosis of osteonecrosis?

Imaging tests such as X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computed Tomography (CT) scans diagnose osteonecrosis.

5. Where can I find more information and resources about osteonecrosis?

For more information and resources, visit the London Osteoporosis Clinic website.

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