At Central Jersey Hand Surgery, we are proud to offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment of shoulder arthritis. Arthritis occurs from loss of the cartilage that normally lines our joints. The cartilage provides a surface that allows the bones in a joint to move smoothly against one another. When arthritis occurs in the shoulder joint, also known as the glenohumeral joint, it can present with some of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the shoulder joint that may radiate down the arm
- Decreased motion in the shoulder, especially with rotation and overhead activity
- Weakness in the shoulder
- A catching or grinding sensation in the shoulder
There are many types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear of the joints over many years of use. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition that affects the entire body) and post-traumatic arthritis, as would occur after a fracture or dislocation. Finally, there is a type of arthritis specific to the shoulder joint, called rotator cuff arthropathy. It is seen in people who have chronic tears of their rotator cuff and this causes the shoulder joint to develop a particular pattern of arthritis over many years.
Luckily, there are multiple treatment options available for shoulder arthritis. The first treatment options are nonsurgical and include:
- Activity modification (stopping the activities that make arthritis pain worse)
- Physical therapy and a moderate exercise regimen to strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder girdle
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Corticosteroid injections
If these treatment modalities do not work, one may consider a shoulder replacement; a surgery in which the ends of the arthritic bones are replaced with a metal and plastic prosthesis. There are two types of shoulder replacements: a standard (or anatomic) replacement and a reverse total shoulder replacement. The type of replacement that is best for you is determined by the type of arthritis that you have.
If you think shoulder arthritis is causing your shoulder pain, or if you have any shoulder pain, please make an appointment with the specialists at Central Jersey Hand Surgery, and we will gladly provide you with a full evaluation.