Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder naturally occurs as a result of the wear and tear associated with the aging process, as a result of the cartilage breaking down in the joints. It is the most common form of arthritis and is more common in women and the elderly than in men. In addition to the onset of osteoarthritis as a result of the aging process, traumatic injuries to the joint can result in the development of this condition. Those with certain diseases, genetic abnormalities and bone deformities are also at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in the shoulder.

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed through a physical examination to assess pain, tenderness, and range of motion in the shoulder. Surrounding tissues, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments, are also inspected for signs or symptoms of injury. Additional tests may be necessary in order to accurately diagnose osteoarthritis and rule out other injuries or forms of arthritis. Other tests include X-ray and MRI scans and blood tests. An arthroscopy may be necessary in some instances.

Pain is the primary symptom of osteoarthritis of the shoulder. The pain is typically located in the shoulder and arm and may be present during and after movement. When pressure is applied, tenderness may be present in the shoulder. There may also be a clicking or popping noise present with movement of the arm. Stiffness and limited range of motion may be evident when attempting to move the arm. Treatment options depend on the severity of the arthritis. The typical regimen for healing includes resting the shoulder joint, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, ice and heat therapy, range-of-motion exercises and physical therapy. If the conservative options are not effective or further deterioration of the shoulder occurs, surgery may be necessary. Surgical treatments include arthroplasty, hemiarthroplasty, and resection arthroplasty.