Five patients are described with avascular necrosis of the femoral head who presented with ipsilateral trochanteric bursitis, in the absence of clearcut hip joint disease. Avascular necrosis was indicated by magnetic resonance imaging. It is suggested that clinical trochanteric bursitis, especially when refractory to local corticosteroid treatment, may be the initial sign of hip disease. In the patient with risk factor(s) for avascular necrosis that diagnosis should be considered and evaluated with appropriate studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging, to prevent weight bearing at an early stage and permit possible surgical decompression in the hope of postponing or obviating the need for total hip replacement.
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