Medical research has identified a number of risk factors associated with AVN.
Interestingly, not everyone who has a risk factor gets AVN and not everyone with AVN has an easily identifiable risk factor, meaning the cause is unknown or idiopathic.
People who have a fracture of the proximal humerus (ball part of the shoulder) are at risk for AVN.
With a fracture of the proximal humerus the blood supply can be disrupted and loss of the normal blood flow to the bone may cause it to eventually die and become necrotic.
The more extensive the fracture the more likely is this development of AVN.
Another common cause of AVN is the effect of steroids given for other conditions.
The steroids are believed to damage the health of the cells which make bone in the humeral head and when they die the sequence of AVN occurs.
Other causes of AVN can be radiation or chemotherapy treatment in the case of cancer.
Other rare causes include sickle cell disease, Gaucher’s disease, Caisson’s disease (also known as diver’s disease or the bends:
This is due to sudden change in water pressure in deep sea diving where nitrogen bubbles form in the blood and damage the blood supply to the humeral head).
AVN Avascular Necrosis aka Osteonecrosis ON
usually presents as pain and may also be associated with noise and crunching sensation (crepitation) in the shoulder with movement.
Movement may be limited due to pain. About 50% of individuals who develop atraumatic (without a fracture) AVN in the shoulder will also have involvement of other joints.
In its early stages AVN may not be apparent on a plain x-ray but it can be seen on an MRI (described above).
As it progresses with collapse of the humeral head and eventual arthritis it is clearly seen on an x-ray (see figures below).
Stage 1 is a shoulder with a normal X-ray but signal changes on MRI showing subchondral edema.
Stage 2 is a shoulder with more whitened bone called sclerosis, near the joint surface (subchondral).
Stage 3 demonstrates a crescent sign or collapse or fracture of the subchondral bone.
Stage 4 demonstrates flattening of the humeral head from advanced collapse.
Stage 5 or end-stage AVN demonstrates advanced collapse of the humerus with degenerative changes of the glenoid (arthritis).
A study that looked at 200 shoulders with AVN found that about 40% of shoulders with early AVN progressed in 3 years to advanced AVN.
Patients that presented with later-stage AVN, 55-80% of patients (depending on how late the stage) progressed to advanced AVN6.
Drilling of the humeral head, called core decompression, is a treatment which may be helpful in the early stages of AVN before the humeral head collapses.
It is believed that pressure in the bone goes up when the blood supply is lost and that pain can be relieved by decompressing the bone by drilling into it.
This is called core decompression. This may also stimulate better blood supply and faster healing in the humeral head.
• A condition caused by interruption of blood supply to humeral head
▪ decreased blood supply to humeral head leading to death of cells in bony matrix.
▪ bone is resorbed and remodeled, causing subchondral bone collapse and may lead to joint incongruity and arthritic changes
◦ etiology similar to hip
▪ Remember ASEPTIC mneumonic
▪ Alcohol, AIDS
▪ Steroids (most common), Sickle, SLE
▪ Erlenmeyer flask (Gaucher’s)
▪ Idiopathic/ Infection
▪ Caisson’s (the bends)
▪ may be atraumatic
▪ four-part fracture-dislocations approach 100% AVN
▪ displaced four-part fractures ~45% AVN
▪ valgus impacted four-part ~11% AVN
▪ three-part ~14% AVN
◦ related to stage of disease
• Blood supply
◦ Humeral head
▪ ascending branch of anterior humeral circumflex artery and arcuate artery
▪ provides blood supply to humeral head
▪ vessel runs parallel to lateral aspect of tendon of long head of biceps in the bicipital groove
▪ beware not to injure when plating proximal humerus fractures
▪ arcuate artery is the interosseous continuation of ascending branch of anterior humeral circumflex artery and penetrates the bone of the humeral head
▪ provides 35% of blood supply to humeral head
▪ posterior humeral circumflex artery
▪ most current literature supports this as providing the main blood supply to humeral head
▪ provides 65% of blood supply
Cruess Classification (stages)
Normal x-ray. Changes on MRI. Core decompression.
Sclerosis (wedged, mottled), osteopenia. Core decompression.
Crescent sign indicating a subchondral fracture. Resurfacing or hemiarthroplasty.
Flattening and collapse. Resurfacing or hemiarthroplasty.
Degenerative changes extend to glenoid. TSA.
◦ insidious onset of shoulder pain
▪ often without a clear inciting event
◦ pain, loss of motion, crepitus, and weakness
• Physical exam
◦ limited range of motion
◦ weakness of the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles
◦ recommended views
▪ five views of shoulder (shown best in neutral rotation AP)
▪ no findings on radiograph at onset of disease process
▪ osteolytic lesion develops on radiograph demonstrating resorption of subchondral necrosis
▪ most common initial site is superior middle portion of humeral head
▪ crescent sign demonstrates subchondral collapse
▪ may progress to depression of articular surface and consequent arthritic changes.
◦ preferred imaging modality
▪ ~100% sensitivity in detection
◦ will demonstrate edema at the site of subchondral sclerosis
◦ pain medications, activity modification, physical therapy
▪ first line of treatment
▪ physical therapy
▪ restrict overhead activity and manual labor
◦ core decompression + arthroscopy (confirm integrity of cartilage)
▪ early disease (precollapse Cruess Stage I and II)
◦ humeral head resurfacing
▪ Stage III disease with focal chondral defects, and sufficient remaining epiphyseal bone stock for fixation.
▪ moderate disease (Cruess Stage III and IV)
◦ total shoulder arthroplasty
▪ advance stage (Cruess V)
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Your eating what?
Before you take one more bite of that fast food lunch or dinner consider how it affects your osteoarthritis.
I am posting this because many with Avascular Necrosis/ Osteonecrosis also end up with osteoarthritis.
Did you know that research shows that diets high in saturated fat – found in red meat, butter, cheese, lard and processed foods – can weaken knee cartilage, making it more prone to damage.
Yep so start eating more plants
There was a study in 2017 published in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers followed more than 2,000 patients with OA for up to four years, checking disease progression and diet at yearly intervals. Participants who ate the most fat, especially the saturated kind, showed increasing joint damage, whereas those who ate healthy fats like olive oil and avocados had little disease progression.
Another recent animal study showed that it even may harm the underlying bone, according to Yin Xiao, PhD, a professor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and lead author of a 2017 study that looked at the effect of diet on OA.
“Our findings suggest that it’s not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis,” he says.
Blame It On Inflammation
Fat’s not the only culprit, though. Sugar, refined carbs, red meat, processed food and corn and soybean oils can spark inflammation, too. Barry Sears, PhD, a long-time researcher in inflammatory nutrition, says eating them is “like throwing a match into a vat of gasoline.”
These foods also tend to pack on pounds, putting extra pressure on stressed joints. To make matters worse, body fat, especially the kind that collects around your belly, makes its own inflammatory proteins, perpetuating the cycle of inflammation even after you’ve sworn off junk food forever.
The solution is to change the way you eat. Switching to an anti-inflammatory or Mediterranean-style diet can help you lose weight and significantly improve your joint, heart and brain health without sacrificing good taste.
An anti-inflammatory diet is heavy on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and nuts. Poultry’s allowed now and then and you can have one glass of red wine or beer a day. Off the menu, as you might expect, are sugar, red meat, and processed foods.
What sets this way of eating apart is that it actively fights inflammation, experts say.
“There are a variety of foods in the Mediterranean diet that are high in fiber, beta carotene, magnesium and omega 3s, all of which have been found to reduce inflammatory markers in human studies,” explains Michelle Babb, MS, RD, a Seattle-based nutrition educator.
“I’ve had [arthritis] patients who have been able to discontinue the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a result of transitioning to a Mediterranean diet. Some even report a noticeable difference in pain in the first week.”
Even so, changing the way you eat can be daunting.
“Don’t expect your diet to change overnight,” advises Sotiria Everett, EdD, RD, an assistant professor at Stonybrook University Medical Center in New York. “Start by looking at what you’re eating now (a food diary is a great way to do this) and identifying areas where you can improve.”
But Babb doesn’t see a problem. Her patients “really enjoy this food plan and don’t feel it’s a hardship to follow it,” she says.
She admits it takes more work and advance planning than the drive-through and recommends prepping some food for the week in advance.
I personally can agree with this as when I stopped eating so much red meat and cut out sugar and most processed junk I felt much better .
And when I eat things that are not as healthy as they should be I feel more pain.
So try a plant based diet or as they suggest Mediterranean
You will be so glad you did.
This taken from article Arthritis Foundation Blog
When you have tried everything an all non-surgical treatments stop relieving your chronic hip pain, or your pain reaches debilitating levels, hip replacement surgery may be the best option to relieve your discomfort, restore your mobility and improve your quality of life.
Hip pain due to Osteonecrosis is an increasing problem for many.
After time over-the-counter pain medications can lose their efficacy and chronic hip pain can quickly escalate often requiring prescription medications, physical therapy, and the use of canes or walkers to aid mobility.
If your pain is severe and debilitating, isn’t it time to do something about it.
Talk to your Doctor or Orthopedic because you don’t need to suffer and have a poor quality of life.
What Signs & Symptoms Indicate a Need for Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip pain can have a number of causes, not all of which can be relieved by a hip joint replacement.
Among the listed causes of AVN are steroid use, trauma, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and alcoholism, blood clot disorder, smoking, vasculitis Bisphosphonate use, Chemo or radiation or it could be idiopathic, meaning no cause can be determined. Certainly Napoli has had his share of wear and tear, being a catcher.
For instance, constant or long-lasting stiffness in your hip joint can be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis while pain that centers in the buttocks region and radiates down the leg may be related to sciatica.
However, many cases of hip pain and discomfort are directly related to your hip joint.
Symptoms and signs that it may be time for hip replacement surgery include:
• Mobility issues, especially if your level of mobility progressively worsens
• Persistent or recurring pain, swelling or discomfort in your hip
• Hip pain that worsens during rainy weather
• Inability to sleep due to hip pain and discomfort
• A “grating” feeling in your hip joint
• Increasing difficulty in climbing stairs or getting in and out of cars, bathtubs, and chairs
• OTC medications no longer effectively manage your hip pain
If you have any or all of these symptoms, talk to an orthopedic surgeon about the possible need for hip replacement surgery.
How Is a Diagnosis Made?
To determine if you are a good candidate for hip replacement surgery, you will need a thorough examination by an experienced orthopedic surgeon. This examination will include:
• A complete medical history evaluation, including any previous injuries or illnesses that could be contributing to your pain
• A physical assessment to determine your range of motion, pain level and the strength of your affected hip
Your orthopedic surgeon may also order additional medical testing, including MRIs and X-rays. If your surgeon decides that the next step is hip replacement surgery, be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the surgery or recovery from hip replacement surgery.
What Do You Need to Know About Hip Replacement Surgical Procedures?
Potential candidates for hip replacement surgery need to know that the surgery is a time-tested procedure that has been used successfully for more than four decades to relieve chronic hip pain and improve both flexibility and mobility. More than 300,000 Americans opt for hip replacement surgery each year to rid themselves of hip pain and improve their quality of life.
Total hip replacement surgery, or total hip arthroplasty, uses a ball and socket prosthetic joint to replace your damaged one. Special metals, such as cobalt-chromium and titanium, and polyethylene plastics, are used to make your prosthetic joints. These materials are safe for use inside the body and are extremely durable and long lasting.
The procedure for your total hip replacement surgery will most likely include the following steps:
1 Separating your femur from your hip socket
2 Removing the damaged ball from the femur
3 Removing your damaged bone and cartilage
4 Inserting a metal shell into your pelvic bone socket and using bone grafting material to secure it
5 Completing the artificial socket by adding the plastic liner
6 Preparing your femur to receive the metal implant
7 Placing the metal implant into the hollowed end of your femur
8 Attaching a metal ball component to the stem
Hip replacement surgery is a very effective procedure, and most patients experience a dramatic reduction in pain and improvements in their mobility and stamina. With the proper recovery procedures and physical therapy, you should be able to enjoy walking, swimming, biking and other low-impact activities without impediment.
If you can no longer bare the pain or have problems walking talk to your ortho about your options.
We’re praying for you
Your hips are largest and most powerful of muscle groups—the glutes, quads, and hamstrings—all connect at the hips, and they allow you to walk, run, climb. The hip joint is crucial to all movement, in sports and day-to-day life, which is why persistent hip pain can be such a pain in the ass literally and often debilitating.
Wear and tear on your hip joint can worsen with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from hip pain, the third most common joint pain behind shoulder pain, at 9 percent, and knee pain, at 18 percent. There’s also a growing prevalence of young athletes with hip injuries, especially young women, due to repetitive overuse and acute trauma.
Trauma can sometimes lead to osteonecrosis in any joint but we are focusing on the hip , and some of the medications given to help inflammation and strengthen bones can also be a cause of osteonecrosis aka avascular necrosis.
Your Hip Pain May be the Sign of a Rare Condition
If you have hip pain don’t always brush it off as arthritis, if it persists, get it checked out to be safe
Persistent or worsening hip pain warrants a visit to your health care provider and possibly a sports medicine specialist or ortho. Some problems, particularly hip stress fractures, are commonly misdiagnosed due to the confusing presentation of symptoms.
A thorough evaluation is necessary and often includes X-rays and other studies, such as an MRI or bone scan. As with all injuries, the absence of pain does not mean that all is well. Strength and flexibility deficits must be addressed to allow a healthy return to helping your quality of life.
Although a person may not initially experience symptoms, hip pain is usually the first indicator. The earlier the diagnosis is achieved, the better the patient’s potential outcome. AVN has four stages that can progress over a period of several months to more than a year. In Stage I, the hip is healthy; in Stage II, the patient experiences mild to moderate pain in direct proportion to the deterioration of the head of the femur (or ball of the hip joint). By Stage III, usually the patient will find it difficult to stand and bear weight on the hip, and joint movement will be painful. During this stage, the ball of the hip has deteriorated to what is called a subchondral fracture and early collapse. Stage IV is a full collapse of the femoral head and degenerative joint disease (DJD).
Treatment for AVN is recommended based on the stage of the disease coupled with the age of the patient. In Stage I, medication and crutches may be prescribed to provide relief and enable the bone to heal on its own. This treatment may require the patient to be non-weight-bearing for up to six months. It also has a failure rate greater than 80-percent.
On the horizon treatments are stem cell.
Surgical treatment is recommended with a Stage II diagnosis, or very early in a Stage III diagnosis. A procedure, known as a core decompression, typically involves drilling one large hole in the core of the effected bone, with or without a bone graft, to reduced pressure and improve blood circulation in the hip. Another surgical option is the vascularized fibular graft, which takes a healthy piece of bone from the fibula, along with the artery or vein, and transplants and reattaches it into the hip, to help healthy bone grow. Recovery can take several months.
Because most patients are diagnosed in late Stage III or IV of the disease, when the bone quality of the femoral head is poor (subchondral fracture) or has collapsed, total hip replacement is the most successful treatment for AVN. This procedure replaces the damaged bone with artificial parts. Recovery takes about eight to twelve weeks. If left untreated, AVN progresses and results in pain and severe debilitating osteoarthritis.
Treatment decisions for AVN are ultimately up to the patient and are based on his or her lifestyle and goals. If you are suffering with hip pain, talk with your primary care doctor about a referral to an orthopedic surgeon