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Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis usually happens to older people who have had years of wear and tear on their shoulders and is a common occurrence of aging. In a healthy shoulder, bone ends are covered by a smooth gliding surface called articular cartilage. In patients with shoulder arthritis, this cartilage is progressively worn away. When the cartilage wears away, bone rubs on bone, causing chronic pain and/or loss of movement. 

What causes Shoulder Arthritis?

There are several types of shoulder arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis is “wear and tear” arthritis that usually affects those who are older or highly active athletes who have repetitive motion and overuse of the shoulder. 
  • Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after an acute or traumatic injury. This type of arthritis can also develop after a chronic rotator cuff tear.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cartilage. Often hereditary, rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect more women than men and is equally common in both shoulder joints.

How do you know you have Shoulder Arthritis?

The most common symptoms of shoulder arthritis are:

  • Chronic pain, made worse by activity
  • Range of motion limitations
  • Joint stiffness
  • Night pain; pain that wakes you during sleep

How does OSI fix Shoulder Arthritis?

An OSI shoulder expert will examine you for signs and symptoms of shoulder arthritis. Your OSI specialist may do one or more of the following to confirm your shoulder arthritis and determine the best course of action to ease your shoulder pain and increase your shoulder mobility:

  • Physical exam: Your OSI doctor will discuss your symptoms and general medical history then conduct a thorough examination of the shoulder joint. Range of motion, tenderness, pain, and weakness in the area are of primary concern.
  • X-rays: X-rays may be used to help identify the form of shoulder arthritis you have.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Initial treatment of shoulder arthritis is nonsurgical:

  • Rest
  • Activity modification
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

Surgical Treatment

There are a number of surgical approaches for the treatment of shoulder arthritis; arthroscopy, a partial shoulder replacement or a total shoulder replacement. Your OSI shoulder specialist will discuss options with you and help you decide which surgical approach is best for you.