Osteo WHAT?

At first I noticed the pain in my ankle felt like I’d broken or twisted it. This came and went for a few weeks and then I mentioned it to my doctor. She did an MRI which showed multiple areas of ‘bone infarcts‘ in my ankle area.

Bone infarcts? It was explained to me that in the absence of adequate blood supply, the bone dies, somewhat like a myocardial infarct, or heart attack. The difference was that in a bone infarct, the bone ‘dies:’ In a myocardial infarct, a part of the heart muscle ‘dies.’

Several of these areas of bone infarcts are called osteonecrosis, breaking it down to osteo (BONE) and necrosis (DEATH). Bone death. What caused this bone death? This is also known as avascular necrosis.

Anything that compromises the blood flow to the bones can cause osteonecrosis (ON). Sometimes a fracture or some other trauma is all it takes for the bone for it to die. There are medications that can cause this, or there are diseases that can cause ON.

Some of the diseases that can cause ON are lupus, other autoimmune diseases, sickle-cell anemia, vascular disease or pancreatitis, Basically, any condition that blocks blood flow to the bone can cause ON (avascular necrosis). Divers can also develop ON from Nitrogen clots that form if they resurface too quickly.

Conditions can cause ON, like hyperlipidemia, too much fat in the blood. For this reason, research has been launched; will statin drugs treat ON?

The mechanism isn’t known, but it is surmised that about 35% of cases of ON are from steroid use. There are certain patient populations which rely on steroids for successful treatment: like the child with asthma. The inflammation which compromises  breathing, can usually be quieted quickly with steroids. But there is a risk; the risk of developing ON orAVN as a result. Another post will explore the treatment options for ON.

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4 thoughts on “Osteo WHAT?

  1. Statin drugs given adjunct with corticosteroid seemed like a great idea when it was first thought about. However like many medications, statins have a lot of side effects. There are so many that many patients find they cannot tolerate statins at all. Always seems a Catch-22 – one thing might help, but it might cause more issues for the patient.

    • Another albeit experimental procedure is to use a coral matrix. It is theorized that if revascularization occurs, that regrowth will surround the porous coral. I had coral matrix injected into both heels by my doctor. I’ve not had problems and the surgery was 7 years ago.

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