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Shoulder Arthritis

Wear and tear in the shoulder that results in arthritis typically strikes an older population, a natural consequence of aging. In a normal shoulder, bone ends are covered by a smooth gliding surface called articular cartilage. In patients with shoulder arthritis, this cartilage is progressively lost, causing chronic pain or loss of movement.

What causes it?

There are several types of shoulder arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” arthritis that usually affects those of mature age. It can also result from overuse in highly active athletes. When cartilage wears away, bone rubs on bone.
  • 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 it?

The most common symptoms of shoulder arthritis are:

  • Chronic pain, made worse by activity
  • Range of motion limitations
  • Joint stiffness
  • Night pain

How we fix it

The upper extremity experts at OSI are here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of shoulder arthritis. While under our expert care, you may undergo the following:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and general medical history, and 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 can be utilized to help identify the form of arthritis that is present.

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
  • Partial shoulder replacement
  • Total shoulder replacement

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