Shoulder arthritis, also known as glenohumeral arthritis, is a condition characterised by the inflammation and degeneration of the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is made up of two main bones: the humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid (a part of the shoulder blade). These bones are covered by cartilage, which helps to cushion and protect the joint during movement.
With shoulder arthritis, the cartilage in the shoulder joint gradually wears away over time, leading to friction between the bones. This can result in pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the affected shoulder. Shoulder arthritis can be a result of aging, injury, or other conditions that cause joint damage.
There are several types of shoulder arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common form of arthritis and is associated with the wear and tear that occurs over time. It typically affects older individuals.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the joint, causing inflammation and damage to the cartilage.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: This type of arthritis can develop after a severe shoulder injury, such as a fracture or dislocation.
Symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include:
- Persistent shoulder pain, which can be worse with movement
- Stiffness in the shoulder joint, making it challenging to move the arm freely
- Weakness in the shoulder muscles
- Reduced range of motion in the shoulder
- Grinding or clicking sensation within the shoulder joint
- Swelling and tenderness in the shoulder area
Treatment options for shoulder arthritis depend on the severity of the condition and its impact on daily life. Initially, non-surgical treatments may be recommended, including:
- Rest and avoiding activities that worsen the pain
- Physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve range of motion
- Pain-relieving medications or anti-inflammatory drugs
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
- Cold or heat therapy to alleviate symptoms
In more severe cases or when conservative treatments are not effective, surgical options may be considered. These can include:
- Arthroscopy: A minimally invasive procedure to remove damaged tissue or bone spurs.
- Joint replacement surgery: In cases of advanced arthritis, the damaged joint surfaces may be replaced with artificial components (prosthesis).
As with any medical condition, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and personalized treatment plan based on the specific individual’s needs.