Cartilage cannot be seen on X-rays, but the thickness of cartilage can be detected by observing the separation of the bones, the 'radiographic joint space'.
In the shoulder, two X-ray views are essential for determining the 'joint space', the AP (anteroposterior) and the axillary views.
An AP view of a normal shoulder looks like this:
and an axillary view of a normal shoulder looks like this:
In each view one can see the separation of the ball from the socket due to the presence of cartilage in this normal right shoulder.
These views must be taken carefully to make sure that poor technique does not hide the true condition of the joint.
More about x-rays in arthritis can be found at this link.
We have a new set of shoulder youtubes about the shoulder, check them out at this link.
Be sure to visit "Ream and Run - the state of the art" regarding this radically conservative approach to shoulder arthritis at this link and this link
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