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Members' feedback

"I'm finding it shocking and surprising the number of new people joining the community. Let me explain. I was diagnosed with AVN first in both knees back in 2005, over the next few years it was found in both hips and shoulders. I had never come across AVN before and felt like I was the only person with it, I was always having to explain to people what it was."
"Thankfully I found this website and community over a year ago and realised I was not the only one suffering with AVN, it has been such a help talking to fellow sufferers who understand what I am going through."
Text taken from a recent post in our community forum.

Join us

If you are suffering from avascular necrosis AVN Osteonecrosis ON, or are close to someone that is, please consider joining our AVN Charity UK community. You will find many shared experiences about AVN and how it affects each of us differently, importantly there are also excellent success stories about the road to "Pain Free".
We also welcome any health professionals who are involved in any way with Avascular Necrosis AVN, please let us know how you think you can help.

Avascular necrosis AVN of the ShoulderAnatomy of the shoulderAnatomy of the shoulder

The shoulder is the second most common joint site for AVN. The Femoral head (hip) is the most common site.

Anatomy of the shoulder

The shoulder is one of the most diverse joints in the human body. It permits the arm to be rotated, elevated, and extended both forward and backward.

A non weight bearing joint, consists of three bones: upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: The ball (or head) of the upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in the shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid.

The surfaces of the bones where they join are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily. A thin, smooth tissue called synovial membrane covers all the remaining surfaces inside the shoulder joint. In a healthy shoulder, this membrane makes a small amount of synovial fluid that lubricates the cartilage and almost eliminates any friction in the shoulder.

The muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder provide stability and support.

All of these structures allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body.

What happens when Avascular Necrosis AVN strikes

All of the blood supply comes into the ball that forms the shoulder joint with the shoulder blade. If this blood supply is damaged, there is no backup. Damage to the blood supply can cause death of the bone that makes up the ball portion of the humerus. Once this occurs, the bone is no longer able to maintain itself.

Living bone is always changing. To maintain a bone's strength, bone cells are constantly repairing the wear and tear that affects the bone tissue. If this process stops the bone can begin to weaken, just like rust can affect the metal structure of a bridge. Eventually, just like a rusty bridge, the bone structure begins to collapse.

When Avascular Necrosis AVN occurs in the shoulder joint, the top of the humerus head (the ball portion) collapses and begins to flatten. This occurs because this is where most of the weight is concentrated. The flattening creates a situation where the ball no longer fits perfectly inside the socket.

Shoulder AVN can also present itself with painful clicks in the joint.



Preserve shoulder function, including strength.

Relieve symptoms.

Halt the progression of the disease.

Decrease symptoms.

Decision for surgical intervention using x-rays, MRI scans, clinical and physical symptoms.


Medication to reduce pain.

Reduction of risk factors including avoiding overhead activities.

Core decompressions, for stages 1, 2 and 3. Varying success rates, between 40 and 90%.


Arthroplasty - Prosthetic replacement of affected joint., for stages 3, 4 and 5.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 January 2015 20:51