Your Guide to Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis can affect any joint, and the shoulder is a good example. Being active with an injured or arthritic shoulder is often hard for patients due to the pain and lack of mobility it causes. It hurts to move in any direction, up, down, or sideways. It becomes debilitating as it progresses usually after age 50. If you have this disease, keep reading for your guide to shoulder arthritis treatment.

man with shoulder pain Joint Inflammation

Arthritis means joint inflammation, and a joint is a place where two bones meet. The common symptoms of arthritis are pain, swelling, redness, and warmth.

The five most common types of arthritis that affect the shoulder include:

  • Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear type of arthritis. The smooth outer covering of bone breaks down and allows for bones to rub together causing pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic and it attacks multiple joints. This causes the lubricated lining of joints to swell causing both pain and stiffness. It can attack both joints of the shoulder.
  • Posttraumatic is a type of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury like a dislocation or fracture.
  • Rotator Cuff Arthropathy can develop after a rotator cuff tear. A rotator cuff tear and advanced arthritis can lead to a very painful situation where the patient cannot move their arm away from their body.
  • Avascular Necrosis occurs when blood is not circulated to the head of the humerus. Without a blood supply, this can cause the destruction of the shoulder joint.

Diagnosis and Conservative Treatments

Your orthopedist will assess your shoulder joint via X-rays, blood tests, MRI scans, and/or removing fluid in the joint to determine the diagnosis.

Once arthritis is diagnosed, a series of conservative treatments will commence.

Conservative treatment can include rest, over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds, physical therapy, range-of-motion exercises, moist heat applied to the joint, ice for 20 minutes 2 or 3 times per day, plus prescription medications or injections of corticosteroids.

If these non-surgical treatments don’t prove successful, surgery may be recommended.

Surgical Options for Shoulder Arthritis

These three are common surgical treatments for arthritis.

Total Shoulder Joint Replacement with an artificial joint.

Hemiarthroplasty, or replacement of the head of humerus or upper arm bone.

Resection Arthroplasty, or removal of small piece of the end of the collar bone.

It is important you speak with a shoulder expert to determine which treatment is right for you.

Contact Weirton Medical Center if you suspect shoulder arthritis and want an evaluation, tests, and suggested available treatments. You don’t have to live in pain.

Category: Orthopaedic