Which physical findings are characteristic of avascular necrosis (AVN)?

Updated: Dec 05, 2020
  • Author: Sunny B Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Initially, the physical examination findings of AVN may be unrevealing. Abnormal physical findings depend on the location and severity of disease. With progression of AVN of the hip, joint function deteriorates and the patient may walk with a limp. AVN of smaller, non–weight-bearing joints typically does not cause significant disability. Findings may include the following:

  • Patients with AVN may have tenderness around the affected bone.
  • Both active and passive joint movements may be restricted and painful.
  • A neurologic deficit may be present if a nerve is affected (compressed) because of necrosis and compression deformity of affected bones.
  • Advanced AVN can result in joint deformity and muscle wasting.

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