Shoulder Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term which is generally used to describe any condition where there is damage to the cartilage of a joint. Sometimes there is also inflammation. Cartilage damage in the shoulder causes shoulder arthritis and inflammation. The cartilage acts as padding which absorbs shock. The proportion of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Pain early on is usually due to inflammation. Later, when the cartilage is worn away, most of the pain comes from direct mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing against each other.

What are the common Types of Arthritis?

The most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and often occurs in older people. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to wear away over time, in extreme cases leaving nothing to protect the bones in a joint and causing bone-on-bone contact. Bones may stick out at the end of a joint, called a bone spur (osteophyte). Osteoarthritis causes pain and restricted range of motion. When severe, the shoulder joint may lose all movement, causing significant disability.

Osteoarthritis results from wearing out of the cartilage covering the bone ends in a joint. This may be due to prolonged or excessive strain, other joint diseases, injury or deformity.

Primary osteoarthritis is commonly associated with ageing and natural degeneration of joints.

Secondary osteoarthritis is the result of another disease or condition, such as repeated trauma or surgery to the affected joint, or abnormal joint structures from birth.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints, tissues and organs. Occurring most often in young and middle-age adult women, this causes inflammation of the lining (synovium) of joints, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of function. Rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly joints of the hands and feet.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Symptoms vary with the type of arthritis. Arthritic symptoms generally include pain, swelling, tenderness, redness or heat in a joint. Limited motion of a joint and early morning stiffness are common.

How is shoulder Arthritis Diagnosed?

Shoulder arthritis is diagnosed by taking a medical history, performing a physical exam and with X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

What are the Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis?

There is no “cure” for arthritis, but there are a range of effective treatments. Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medications, occupational therapy or physiotherapy, and radiofrequency denervations.

In more severe cases, shoulder surgery may be recommended. The type of shoulder surgery suggested will depend on the person’s age and the severity of their condition how severe their disease is.

Common surgery for treatment of shoulder arthritis is shoulder arthroplasty (replacement of the damaged joint), which is frequently extremely effective.



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