Avascular necrosis symptoms
In the early stages of avascular necrosis, the condition may produce no symptoms. However, as the disorder worsens, the joint that is affected may be painful with weight-bearing activity. Eventually, the joint affected by avascular necrosis is painful even at rest.
The pain of avascular necrosis typically develops slowly over time. It can be only a mild aching sensation, or it can be severely intense. The pain may be centralized in the buttock, thigh, or groin area. Other areas which are likely to be affected by avascular necrosis include the hand, foot, shoulder, and knee.
Sometimes the condition develops on both sides of the body, for instance, in both knees or hips.
When to see a doctor
If you have pain that is persistent in any of your joints, seek medical care. If you suspect a broken bone or a joint dislocation, seek medical attention right away.
If your physician suspects avascular necrosis, you will be given a thorough physical examination. Your doctor will examine your joints, checking them for tenderness and moving them to check their mobility and function to diagnose AVN.
Imaging studies can help determine the source of pain and other symptoms. In addition, they can help determine if avascular necrosis is causing problems, or they may help rule out other conditions. Some imaging tests the doctor recommends may include:
- X-rays: In the early stages of avascular necrosis, X-rays may not show any changes in the bones. In later stages of the condition, changes in the bone may appear on X-ray.
- MRI and CT scan: The detailed images that appear in these studies can detect avascular necrosis in its early stages.
- Bone scan: In this test, a tiny amount of a radioactive substance is injected through your veins and shows up in healing or injured bones as bright spots on the produced images.
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