Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Shoulder osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition where the cartilage in the shoulder joint breaks down over time. This can cause difficulty with daily activities, like lifting objects or even brushing your teeth. Learn more about shoulder arthritis symptoms, causes, and treatment below.

What You Need To Know About Shoulder Osteoarthritis

What Is Shoulder Osteoarthritis?

When functioning normally, your shoulder joint is covered by a layer of cartilage. This layer allows the humerus (upper arm bone) to glide smoothly within the shoulder joint. The cartilage can deteriorate from aging, repetitive motion, or direct injury. This deterioration makes the humerus rub directly against the bone of the shoulder socket, creating small bone spurs that cause pain in the shoulder joint.

There are two joints that are affected by shoulder osteoarthritis, the glenohumeral joint and the acromioclavicular (or AC) joint. The glenohumeral joint is where the round top of the humerus meets the socket of the scapula (also called the glenoid). These mechanics allow for the wide range of motion in the shoulder. The AC joint is where the clavicle moves along the acromion, at the highest part of the scapula, so this joint tends to be more prone to osteoarthritis.

What Causes Shoulder Osteoarthritis?

Shoulder osteoarthritis is usually caused by the natural wear and tear of aging or by direct trauma to the joint. This kind of shoulder arthritis is more common in women, older people, and people whose occupation put stress on the shoulder. Athletes are also more at risk of osteoarthritis due to injury or overuse.

There are two kinds of shoulder osteoarthritis, primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis has no direct cause, but is usually related to genetics, age, and sex. Secondary osteoarthritis has a direct cause, such as a previous injury. Schedule your appointment with a Resurgens shoulder physician today and get moving again.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Shoulder arthritis symptoms usually begin with pain and tenderness in the shoulder. You may also experience stiffness, limited range of motion, and pain, both at rest and in motion.

Other common shoulder arthritis symptoms include:

  • Swelling

  • Popping or crunching of the joint

  • Weakness in the shoulder or arm muscles

Many patients report that shoulder osteoarthritis pain disrupts their sleep schedule and their daily life. Early intervention can prevent osteoarthritis shoulder symptoms from developing into a more severe problem. Schedule your appointment with a Resurgens shoulder physician today and get moving again.

How is Shoulder Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

To diagnose shoulder osteoarthritis, your physician will first talk to you about your medical and family history. Then they will do a physical exam to assess your pain levels and range of motion in your shoulder. From there, your doctor will likely recommend diagnostic imaging, like x-rays or MRI scans. They may also recommend blood tests or take a synovial fluid sample from the affected joint.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis Treatment

There are many shoulder arthritis treatment options available for different severities of osteoarthritis. Early stage cases can be treated with physical therapy, NSAIDS, or corticosteroid injections. If the shoulder does not respond to these preliminary treatment methods, surgery may be needed to repair or replace the shoulder joint.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Shoulder osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that can be managed with nonsurgical treatments. Some non-surgical shoulder arthritis treatments include:

Surgical Treatment

Your Resurgens physician will generally recommend surgery if the shoulder is not responding to other shoulder arthritis treatments. There are three different types of surgeries that can help relieve shoulder osteoarthritis pain:

  • Total shoulder arthroplasty, or shoulder joint replacement, is a procedure that replaces the shoulder joint with an artificial joint. This is most effective for those with arthritis of the glenohumeral joint.

  • Hemiarthroplasty is a procedure where the head of the humerus is replaced. This is also effective for those with arthritis of the glenohumeral joint.

  • Resection arthroplasty is a procedure where the end of the collarbone is removed. This surgery is effective for those with arthritis of the AC joint or rotator cuff problems.

As with any procedure, there are some risks and complications associated with these surgeries. Your physician will discuss these with you ahead of the procedure.

Every patient needs a unique treatment plan to meet their needs. If you are struggling with shoulder arthritis, schedule an appointment with a Resurgens shoulder physician to get moving again.