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Recovery & Support for Osteonecrosis

Regardless of whether you’ve been treated with medication or surgery, most people fully recover from osteonecrosis and are eventually able to use the affected joint without pain.

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During and after treatment, our doctors, pain management specialists, and physical therapists provide continued care to help you feel better as quickly as possible.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an important part of your recovery from osteonecrosis, whether your doctor recommends medication or surgery. If osteonecrosis has affected the hip or knee, you must use crutches and stay off your feet as your bones heal, which may lead to a weakening of the muscles in the thighs and legs.

Physical therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation can help you build strength in the muscles surrounding the affected joint, stabilizing and supporting the joint.

Our physical therapists can show you how to perform simple stretching and resistance exercises to improve flexibility and restore a full range of motion in the affected joint. Over time, physical therapy enables you to move easily and without pain.

The length of time doctors recommend physical therapy varies based on the location of the affected bone, the type of treatment your doctor prescribes, the extent of the osteonecrosis, and your overall health. Typically, doctors recommend 6 to 12 weeks of physical therapy. After that, they assess your progress to determine if additional therapy is needed. You may need to continue physical therapy for as long as a year to ensure a full recovery from osteonecrosis.

Tobacco Cessation

Research shows that smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco consumption slow the rate at which bones heal. Some insurance companies won’t cover a total joint replacement surgery unless you quit.

Our doctors understand how hard it is to stop smoking and offer Tobacco Cessation Programs to help you.

Quitting Drinking

If osteonecrosis resulted from excessive alcohol use, talk with your doctor about how to get the support you need to cut down on or quit drinking.

Weight Loss

Major joints like those in the hip and knee bear a significant amount of stress every time you stand up, walk, climb stairs, or run. This stress increases when you are overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can help speed recovery during physical therapy and can protect your hip and knee joints against additional injury.

Specialists at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program offer support and guidance to help you lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can decrease the risk of complications after total joint replacement surgery and help ensure the longevity of the new joint.

Our Research and Education in Osteonecrosis

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.