The shoulder is composed of the acromioclavicular and the glenohumeral joints. The acromioclavicular joint is formed by a junction between the collarbone (clavicle) and the tip of the shoulder bone (acromion). The glenohumeral joint is formed by an articulation of the upper arm bone (humerus) with the shoulder blade (scapula). The three major types of shoulder arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects the cushioning cartilage on the ends of shoulder bones that enables them to move smoothly. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage is damaged as a result of previous injury to the shoulder, or normal wear and tear process as we age. As the cartilage is destroyed, the bones begin to rub against each other and cause pain, stiffness and weakness.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint lining (synovium) swelling and joint space narrowing. It progressively destroys the bones and soft tissues of both shoulders and other joints of the body.
Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury, such as a shoulder fracture, dislocation, or a rotator cuff tear.
Non-surgical treatment options include pain control, physical therapy, heat and cold therapy, and corticosteroid injections.
Surgical treatment is recommended when the conservative, non-surgical intervention fails to adequately control patient’s symptoms.