Arthritis in Shoulder

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Shoulder arthritis is a general condition that describes damage to the cartilage in one of the shoulder joints.

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The glenohumeral joint is the joint that connects your upper arm bone (humerus) to your shoulder blade in an area called the glenoid. Both bones are covered with cartilage. Shoulder arthritis often refers to damage to the cartilage in the glenohumeral shoulder joint.

The AC joint is where the collar bone (clavicle) meets the acromion. When arthritis develops here, it is often referred to as AC joint arthritis.

Call Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow now if you need shoulder treatment in Marietta or Atlanta, GA. Our trained specialists look forward to giving you the care you’re looking for!

Types and Causes of Shoulder Arthritis

There are several different types and causes of shoulder arthritis. Below you will find a detailed list of the most common ones.

Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease. It is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops over time through wear and tear.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Shoulder

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system attacks healthy cells. When they attack the lining of your joint, arthritis symptoms may develop.

Post-Traumatic Shoulder Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis can occur after an injury, such as a shoulder dislocation or fracture.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

Rotator cuff tear arthropathy is a condition that can develop if you have had a massive and prolonged rotator cuff tear. You have four rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder. They support the shoulder joint by wrapping around the ball portion of the shoulder joint. If you had significant damage to one or more of the tendons, the humeral head can rub against other bones in the shoulder and develop arthritis.

Shoulder Arthritis Caused by Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a condition that develops when the blood supply to an area of the body is disrupted. As a result, the area dies. This process can happen to your humeral head after a traumatic injury or disease. As the bone collapses, it becomes uneven, causing arthritis.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis?

There are a few symptoms associated with arthritis of the shoulder, which may include the following:

  • Mild to severe pain in the shoulder joint
  • Stiffness or reduced range of motion while using the shoulder
  • Grinding, clicking, or cracking sounds with shoulder movement

How Is Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will begin the diagnosis of shoulder arthritis with a physical exam. They will also consult your medical history to discover if past problems may have contributed to the arthritis.

You may also be sent for image tests, like an X-ray or CT scan, to determine the degree of arthritis or if you have psoriatic arthritis of the shoulder.

How Is Shoulder Arthritis Treated?

There are several ways to treat arthritis of the shoulder. The treatment methods will depend on the severity of arthritis. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and maintain mobility in the shoulder.

Our orthopedic surgeons at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow can tailor a treatment program that will best suit your needs.

Non-Surgical Treatments

The initial treatment for shoulder arthritis will begin with non-surgical options. Some of these methods may include the following:

  • Lifestyle modifications: If an activity causes shoulder pain, you may need to cut down on it or discontinue it altogether.
  • Physical therapy: Shoulder exercises may be given during a physical therapy session to keep the shoulder mobile. However, it is generally not recommended to do strengthening exercises unless they don’t bother you.
  • Ice packs: Placing ice on your shoulder for 20-30 minutes can provide some short-term pain relief. You could do so at various times throughout the day.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications can be bought over the counter and help relieve shoulder arthritis pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Cortisone injections: These shoulder injections reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may limit them to only a few a year. You should not take the injections within 3 months of having shoulder replacement surgery, as they can increase the chance of infection.
  • Hyaluronic acid injections: This synthetically made substance is naturally found in the body. It acts as a lubricant that helps smooth joint movements.

Surgical Treatments

If non-surgical treatments no longer provide pain relief, you may need shoulder surgery. The treatment will depend on your age, the severity of the arthritis, and the type of arthritis. The following treatments may be recommended, if necessary:

  • Arthroscopic shoulder debridement: Using small surgical tools, your surgeon will clean out loose bodies from inside the shoulder joint. Bone spurs will not be removed, as these are a result of arthritis and not the cause.
  • Standard total shoulder replacement: This surgery replaces the humeral head and the shoulder socket with artificial parts. It is recommended when there is bone-on-bone rubbing.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement: This type of surgery may be recommended when there is a rotator cuff tear along with shoulder arthritis. The parts of the shoulder joint are replaced in a reverse position.

Get Professional Arthritis Treatment

Consulting an arthritis specialist can help you find solutions for chronic pain. It may also help you resume some of your everyday activities.

At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, we offer professional treatment for shoulder arthritis. Our specialists will assess your condition to identify suitable treatment methods. We will then provide personalized therapy options and recommend exercises to help restore your range of motion. 

Contact Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow now if you need arthritis treatment in Marietta or Atlanta, GA. We are ready to give you the quality care you deserve!

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Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

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