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Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder Arthritis is defined as stiffness and inflammation or swelling of shoulder joint. There is damage to the cartilage inside the shoulder joint.

Shoulder is a ball and socket joint where ball is head of humerus and socket is the glenoid cavity. Shoulder arthritis most commonly affects this ball and socket joint.

The head of humerus and the glenoid cavity are covered with cartilage which help in friction free movement when the cartilage in the shoulder begins to break down on the surface and eventually in the deeper layers, it’s called Shoulder Arthritis.

The acromioclavicular joint of shoulder can also develop arthritis known as ac Joint Arthritis.

Shoulder Arthritis typically develops in stages.

  • Stage 1 - The cartilage becomes soft.
  • Stage 2 - Development of cracks in the surface.
  • Stage 3 - Begins to “Fibrillate” (Deteriorate and Flake)
  • Stage 4 - Cartilage wears away to expose the surface of the bone.

As a result, it loses its ability to act as a smooth, gliding surface.

The cartilage wearing process takes time it doesnt wear away all at once over the entire surface of the bone in a joint. Instead, it wears at different rates in different parts.

Once the surface becomes irregular, the cartilage may undergo further damage. It may begin to thin out, eventually leading to the bones of the shoulder rubbing against each other (stage four cartilage loss).

It is impossible to tell how fast shoulder arthritis will get worse. Every person’s shoulder joint has different degrees of damage to the cartilage. Typically, when certain activities produce pain, it means that the cartilage is experiencing stress. Generally, the more painful the activity, the more likely it is to damage the cartilage and the shoulder joint further.

Causes and types of shoulder arthritis

There are several different forms of shoulder arthritis. Each may have different origins, and some causes of shoulder arthritis are still unknown.

  • Osteoarthritis of the shoulder
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the shoulder
  • Post-traumatic Shoulder Arthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy
  • Shoulder Arthritis due to avascular necrosis

Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms

The amount of cartilage loss varies from person to person and so do symptoms of shoulder arthritis:

  • Pain in the shoulder joint
  • Stiffness of the joint
  • Grinding, clicking or cracking (crepitus)

Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosis

Your orthopedic will examine you and ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. According to the severity he may advice X Ray, CT Scan or MRI. In a few cases all 3 might be required.

Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

Conservative Management:

  • Physiotherapy Exercises
  • Lifestyle Modifications
  • Pain control - cold, hot fomentation, medicine
  • Injection therapy for shoulder arthritis

Shoulder Surgery

When patient gets no relief with conservative management surgery may be needed. Surgical options depend on your age and the degree of arthritis.

  • Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement: It is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera (an arthroscope) and surgical tools are inserted through small incisions to “clean out” (debride) the shoulder joint. Recommended for patients with lower grades of arthritis.
  • Neer’s Hemiarthroplasty: A procedure that replaces only the ball part of the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder Replacement: Shoulder replacement is prefered for bone-on-bone shoulder arthritis. It relieves the pain of arthritis, and its effect lasts for many years.
  • Standard Total Shoulder Replacement: In this procedure the ball and the socket parts of the shoulder joint are replaced with artificial parts.
  • Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement: In this procedure, the ball and socket sides of the joint switch places. This procedure can be done for many conditions, but it’s mainly used when there is a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder with arthritis.

To know more kindly contact the best orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Rahul Modi for further queries.
This surgery is frequently performed by the best orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Rahul Modi for treating Shoulder Arthritis.