Persistent or worsening shoulder pain can make you wonder if you are developing shoulder arthritis. While shoulder arthritis is a common condition, there are many other possible causes of shoulder pain. Steven Struhl, MD, at AC Joint Separation in NYC, reviews the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options for shoulder arthritis.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is made up of three bones:

  1. The collarbone (clavicle)
  2. The shoulder blade (scapula)
  3. The upper arm bone (humerus)

The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for a wide range of motion. Two types of shoulder arthritis can cause pain and restricted mobility: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of shoulder arthritis, caused by joint wear and tear over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints.

Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

The symptoms of shoulder arthritis can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the shoulder joint
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion
  • Swelling and tenderness in the joint
  • A grinding or cracking sensation when moving the shoulder
  • Weakness in the shoulder muscles

Risk Factors for Shoulder Arthritis

Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing shoulder arthritis. These include:

  • Age: The risk of developing shoulder arthritis increases with age.
  • Overuse: Repetitive overhead movements, such as those performed by athletes or manual laborers, can lead to shoulder arthritis.
  • Trauma: A shoulder injury, such as a fracture or dislocation, can increase the risk of developing arthritis in the joint.
  • Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing arthritis.
  • Obesity: Being overweight can put extra stress on the joints, including the shoulder joint.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis

Treating shoulder arthritis depends on the severity of the condition and your symptoms. Some common treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Your shoulder pain specialist may prescribe stronger pain medications or corticosteroids in more severe cases.
  • Surgery: If other treatments are ineffective, surgery may be necessary.

Dr. Steven Struhl is renowned by his peers as one of New York’s Best Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeons. He tailors your shoulder arthritis surgery to fit your needs, always opting for the least invasive solution possible. Joint replacement can give good results in the elderly with severe arthritis. A common surgery for treating shoulder arthritis is arthroplasty (replacement of the damaged joint), which may be total shoulder arthroplasty or hemiarthroplasty.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, it is important to speak with Dr. Struhl to determine the cause. While shoulder arthritis is a common condition, there are many other possible causes of shoulder pain. Dr. Struhl and his team at AC Joint Separation can determine the cause of your shoulder pain and recommend the best possible treatment. Contact us today in White Plains or New York City to schedule an exam and consultation.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD