Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms and Treatment

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The head of the humerus sits in the socket or the glenoid fossa. The end of these bones is covered by a smooth Teflon-like layer of tissue called articular cartilage which allows these bones to glide smoothly over each other during shoulder motion.

Shoulder arthritis occurs when this articular cartilage wears away as a result of gradual wear and tear of the cartilage, injuries or overuse. Apart from cartilage loss, bone spurs may develop in the bones of the shoulder joint, in patients with shoulder arthritis.

Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

Patients with shoulder arthritis experience pain throughout the shoulder. Pain often worsens at night and pain may even interfere with sleep. Some patients complain of worse pain when weather changes or with certain motions. Some patients feel a grinding sensation in their shoulder with motion. Gradually, there may be a loss of range of motion in the shoulder.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Arthritis

The diagnosis of shoulder arthritis is usually made with the patient’s history, the findings on physical examination, and X-rays. Occasionally an MRI will be obtained to exclude an associated rotator cuff tear.

Shoulder Arthritis Treatments in Phoenix

Treatment for shoulder arthritis depends upon the severity of pain and the extent of arthritis and the patient’s symptoms. Initially conservative treatment methods are recommended; such as ice, activity modifications, and medications.

If conservative options fail to control the symptoms, cortisone (steroid) injections into the shoulder may be attempted. If these injections are unsuccessful, shoulder replacement surgery may be recommended. Surgery is performed to cut the arthritic ends of the bones and replace them with metal and plastic components.


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