Transient hip osteoporosis

This is a condition of unknown cause in which there is temporary loss of bone from the upper femur (thighbone). This leads to pain that increases with weight bearing activities e.g. walking and running and is relieved by rest. The pain continues for about 6 to 12 months and then gradually subsides with the return of the bone to its normal strength. This condition usually affects patients 30 – 50 years old and women during the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Examining the affected hip does not reveal any abnormality and the X-rays are usually normal. The condition is diagnosed by MRI which will show increased brightness of the upper part of the femur due to edema of the bone marrow (unlike cases with avascular necrosis in which only a sector of the femoral head is affected).


MRI of the hip showing transient osteoporosis




As the condition resolves spontaneously, treatment aims at relieving the symptoms of the disease only.

  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g. ibuprofen helps decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Limitation of weight bearing: this is achieved by using crutches or walkers to lower the stresses put on the affected bones.



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