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Avascular Necrosis of the Shoulder


Blood flow is necessary for musculoskeletal function. When injury or other factor interrupts normal blood (vascular) flow, the result is death or necrosis of the bone and tissue. Read on to learn more about this condition that causes the bone to collapse onto itself.

Causes & Triggers

  • Bone fracture
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Joint dislocation
  • Prolonged steroid use
  • Undetermined (known as idiopathic AVN)

Signs & Symptoms

  • Difficulty reaching overhead or extending arms
  • Crunching
  • Grating
  • Locking
  • Persistent pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Stiffness
  • Throbbing sensation

Tips & Treatment

  • This condition is most common in adults ages 20 to 50.
  • Men are more likely than women to be affected by shoulder AVN. However, women with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, tend to develop this condition more often than men with autoimmune diseases.
  • Symptoms may be unnoticeable or intermittent, and then progressively worsen.
  • Treatment may range from pain management to surgical joint replacement.

Related Specialties

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