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Shoulder Osteoarthritis

(Glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis)

What is shoulder osteoarthritis?

Shoulder osteoarthritis (OA) is when the cartilage covering the surface of the bones (the articular cartilage) of the shoulder joint degenerates or wears down. The shoulder joint is not a weight-bearing joint, that is unless you have a tendency to walk on your hands, so the incidence of OA is considerably less compared to the hip, knee and ankle joints.

What are the symptoms of shoulder arthritis?

As with other joints, the most common symptom of shoulder arthritis is pain which can occur with activity or at rest. A common phenomenon is to experience pain in the upper arm even though it is arising from the shoulder joint. This is known as referred pain. You may find the shoulder to be more painful at night disturbing sleep as a result.

Another common symptom of shoulder arthritis is stiffness. It is important to differentiate this from a diagnosis of frozen shoulder as the outcome for both is different.

What are the treatment options for shoulder arthritis?

The initial treatment of shoulder arthritis is non-surgical through the use of:

  • Physiotherapy to improve the strength and flexibility in your shoulder.
  • Prescription anti-inflammatories and pain medication.
  • Shoulder joint injection of corticosteroid to reduce swelling and pain in the joint. When combined with physiotherapy can help you improve shoulder strength and slow the progression of joint degeneration.
  • There is the option of non-steroid based orthobiologic injections like hyaluronic acid and Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) into the joint.
  • Surgical reconstruction - For cases that have exhausted conservative treatment, a shoulder replacement may be necessary to replace the damaged bone surfaces. If indicated Dr Ade has a trusted network of renowned shoulder surgeons he regularly works with that he can refer you to.

I can meet you in Central London or Hertfordshire or via a Zoom video consultation

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