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Arthritis of the Shoulder

What is Arthritis of the Shoulder?

Shoulder arthritis refers to the non-inflammatory loss of cartilage from gradual wear and tear of the shoulder, trauma, surgical complications or association with rotator cuff tears.

Causes of Shoulder Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing out of the cartilage covering the bone ends in a joint. This may be due to excessive strain over prolonged periods of time, or due to other joint diseases, injury or deformity. Primary osteoarthritis is commonly associated with aging and general degeneration of the joints.

Other causes of shoulder arthritis include Capsulorraphy arthropathy from previous instability surgery, chondrolysis from an intra-articular pain pump, inflammatory arthritis (such as Rheumatoid arthris), avascular necrosis, dysplasia, and rotator cuff arthropathy.

Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

Symptoms of shoulder arthritis vary depending on patient age, type of arthritis and activity requirements. In general, shoulder arthritis progresses with gradual increase in pain with activities and at rest, decreased range of motion and inability to perform desired tasks.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Arthritis

Dr. Stenson will diagnose arthritis with a medical history, a physical exam and X-rays of the affected part.

In an arthritic shoulder:

  • The cartilage lining is thinner than normal or completely absent. The degree of cartilage damage and inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis.
  • The capsule of the arthritic shoulder is swollen.
  • The joint space is narrowed and irregular in outline; this can be seen in an X-ray image.
  • Bone spurs or excessive bone can also build up around the edges of the joint.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis

Dr. Stenson may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine and may recommend physical therapy, which includes exercises and heat treatment. In severe cases, surgery may be suggested. Common and successful surgeries offered for shoulder arthritis include: Total Shoulder Arthroplasty, Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty, or Hemiarthroplasty with concentric glenoid reaming ("Ream-and-Run")

Practice Location

210 Mall Blvd G02
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Practice Location

170 W Germantown Pike
East Norriton, PA 19401

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