Many of us with sickle cell suffer from avascular necrosis of the hip, where the bone is damaged by sickle cell blockage, leading to a prolonged limp, pain on that side of the hip and leg, and often to walk with a cane if it gets bad. You don’t have to suffer in silence. This is a treatable issue. One of our readers posted a response that we’re sharing because it succintly details the treatment plan.
I am young (in my early 20s) and I had a hip replacement 1.5 years ago. I had AVN in my left hip which progressively got worse over the course of 8 years to the point where I could barely walk a few meters without wanting to cry my eyes out in pain. I was in constant pain all day long. So I got to the point where I demanded having the surgery.
1.You can try the decompression thing
2. You can try injections inserted in the joints to temporarily replace the cartilage (keep in mind this procedure is usually for Osteoarthritis not AVN but it might help – speak with your physician).
3. Do sports with low physical contact like swimming and biking to keep your mobility. [Also do physical therapy before surgery to strengthen your posture, joints, and muscles. This will reduce your recovery time after surgery.]
4. Ask about getting a bone graft, if your AVN isn’t too bad they could do a minor surgery to preserve the bone as is (I’m not sure if this is a temporary solution or if it’s good for life – speak to your physician)
5. Don’t believe them when they said you’re too young. Surgery is scary and the recovery process will take a few months with physio (physical therapy -PT) but it’s better than living in constant pain. Technology is so much better these days, your replacement will last you at least 20 years minimum if you don’t do any hardcore contact sports like running, soccer, etc…
All the best, xo
By Kellie Robinson