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Prolonged use of steroids causes bone tissue death in post-Covid sufferers, warn doctors

Steroids have been broadly used for treating Covid-19. As a consequence of long-term use of corticosteroids (particularly at excessive doses), many sufferers have been experiencing fungal infections like mucormycosis, and now avascular necrosis (AVN) — a well being complication that causes the death of bone tissues, doctors spotlight.

Why are steroids used?

When one will get contaminated with Covid, there’s an preliminary part the place the virus replicates and grows in the physique. This is adopted by irritation in the second week, and steroids are administered to decrease this irritation. However, extreme and extended use of steroids can suppress pure immunity when used for sufferers with low oxygen ranges. Many sufferers utilizing steroids therefore expertise issues like Avascular Necrosis (AVN).

“Earlier, mucormycosis or black fungus was seen in post-covid patients. Now, AVN is also another worrisome problem seen during the first and second waves of Covid owing to the use of steroids. Avascular necrosis, also called osteonecrosis, can be termed as the death of bone tissue owing to the lack of blood supply. It can lead to tiny breaks in the bone which leads the bone to collapse. A broken bone or dislocated joint can interrupt the blood flow to a section of bone,” mentioned Dr Anand Jadhav, orthopedic specialist, Apollo Spectra Pune, who has been seeing round 10-15 sufferers with AVN each month for remedy.

How does the situation manifest?

In AVN sufferers, there’s elevated strain in the bones contained in the sphincter resulting from its inflexible construction.

What all does AVN have an effect on?

Dr Keerthi Prakash Kotla, advisor pathologist, Apollo Diagnostics, mentioned that ache associated to AVN will be felt across the groin, thigh, or buttock. “Besides your hip, it may also affect your shoulder, knee, hand, and foot. Hence, on complaints of hip and thigh pain, diagnosis can be done by early X-ray, CT scan, MRI, and bone scan of the hips,” she talked about.


Core decompression surgical procedure is carried out if the AVN is in the primary and second levels. This reduces the strain contained in the ball. Joint alternative surgery is the one possibility to scale back everlasting ache in the third and fourth levels of AVN illness. “However, surgery is not required if AVN is diagnosed early. Therefore, Covid patients on steroids having groin or thigh pain are advised to take an MRI or X-ray to check if they have AVN of the hip,” talked about Dr Jadhav.

What will be achieved to scale back the chance of AVN?

Limit your alcohol consumption, monitor cholesterol ranges, don’t misuse steroids with out a physician’s data, and keep away from smoking to handle AVN, famous Dr Kotla.

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