Shoulder Arthritis



Arthritis is one of the most common conditions of the shoulders. There are three types of arthritis in the shoulder:  




Osteoarthritis occurs in every joint of the body. It is typically a wear and tear disease that is characterized by gradual wearing of the cartilage of the shoulder joint. The cartilage acts as a suspension system of the joint and absorbs most of the impact. If this suspension system is dysfunctional, the joint would deteriorate and becomes inflamed. This condition frequently occurs in elderly people, and on occasions result in overuse in athletes. 


Post Traumatic Arthritis 


Post Traumatic Arthritis comes about after a traumatic force is sustained by the joint, thereby demolishing the cartilage. It is commonly occurs after a car accident or any other repeated trauma. 


Rheumatoid Arthritis 


Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own soft tissue and therefore destroys the soft tissue of the shoulder joint.  




One of the major symptoms of shoulder arthritis is pain. Since, there is a lack of cartilage protecting the joints, the bones would tend to grind against each other because of the lack of cushioning. The most severe pain is present in front of the shoulder and during shoulder range of motion. 


Because it’s very painful, the shoulder we be used less and people would often experience moderate to severe stiffness (may last for several years), unable to apply pressure on the shoulder joint (especially when sleeping on the affected shoulder) and weakness. 




Diagnosis is fairly easy and quick. MRI or X-Ray scans are usually done to confirm diagnosis.  




The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain as much as possible while maintaining range of motion and strength. Pain can be controlled by pain medications prescribed by your local General Practitioner, and cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is special type of treatment whereby, cold compression pack is applied onto the shoulder.  

The deterioration of the cartilage can be prevented by using vitamin supplements such as, Sulfate glucosamine. Another effective way to prevent further deterioration would be to perform shoulder range of motion exercises.  

If the shoulder gets really bad, the doctor may give you corticosteroid injections directly into the shoulder joint or as a last resort, shoulder surgery. 


Shoulder Arthritis Surgery 


Surgery is only performed is the patient does not respond to the above treatments. The type of surgery performed will depend on the severity and particular expectations of the person.  


They include: 


Humeral Hemiartroplasty with Non Prosthetic Gelnoid Arthroplasty (Ream and Run) 

Reverse (Delta) total shoulder joint replacement Arthroplasty 

Total shoulder joint replacement arthroplasty