Aches and pains in joints are common as you age. But, in rare cases, this pain can be from a serious and rare condition called avascular necrosis.\nLearn more about avascular necrosis at UPMC Susquehanna.\nWhat Is Avascular Necrosis (AVN)?\nThe cause of AVN is cell death in the bones due to a lack of blood supply.\nCell death can lead to a collapse of the bone causing severe pain in your knees, shoulders, or \u2014 most commonly \u2014 your hips.\nAVN affects 10,000 to 20,000 people each year and often occurs in men, age 40 to 50. In 40 to 80 percent of cases, AVN forms in both sides of the body (bilaterally).\nAvascular Necrosis Symptoms and Stages\nThe main symptom of AVN is joint pain. You may not notice AVN symptoms in the early stages:\n\nStage I \u2014 the hip is healthy.\nStage II \u2014 you feel pain in the joint.\nStage III \u2014 you have trouble standing and movement is painful.\nStage IV \u2014 the joint fully collapses causing degenerative joint disease (DJD).\n\nAVN Diagnosis and Treatment\nIf you believe you may have avascular necrosis, it’s vital to discuss your medical history and symptoms with your doctor.\nNext, your doctor will assess the movements that cause the most pain in your hip or affected joint.\nAn x-ray will confirm a diagnosis of AVN. If your doctor can’t see AVN on an x-ray, he or she may use an MRI to get a more precise image of the hip joint.\nPeople who receive an AVN diagnosis in the early stages have better treatment results.\nTreatments for AVN depend on the stage during diagnosis and your age. During the early stages of AVN, the treatment options include:\n\nDrugs to relieve the pain.\nCrutches to allow the hip to heal on its own.\n\nIn stages III and IV, doctors suggest surgical treatment.