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Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder joints take a lot of wear and tear, which often leads to pain and stiffness, creaking or clicking sounds with movement, and pain at night — all signs of arthritis.

Protective cartilage cushions your bones and joints, allowing them to move smoothly. When the cartilage breaks down or gets damaged, the bones rub against one another causing swelling, inflammation and pain. When you develop shoulder arthritis, it becomes painful to lift and rotate your arm. It can become painful to do everyday things. 

Types of Shoulder Arthritis and Conditions

There are different causes for shoulder arthritis. It most often develops as you age, but it can also be caused by an injury such as a fracture or dislocation, or by infection. Types of arthritis that affect the shoulder are:

  • Osteoarthritis —The most common type of shoulder arthritis, which is caused by everyday wear and tear. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis — An autoimmune disease which affects the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis or avascular necrosis — Caused by an injury such as a dislocation or fracture which cuts off blood supply to the bones.
  • Septic arthritis —Caused by bacteria in the bloodstream or an infection in the joint.
  • Capsulorrhaphy arthropathy — Arthritis caused by a previous shoulder dislocation surgery. 
  • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy — Can occur when there’s a rip in the tendon of the rotator cuff. 

Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis

Although there’s no cure for arthritis, there are treatments to help relieve your shoulder pain. The first step is an accurate diagnosis. The Orthopaedic team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare have the expertise and experience to pinpoint the cause of your pain. If your doctor believes non-surgical treatment will help, it’s always the first choice. Shoulder replacement may be your best option if you have too much joint damage and pain. Your doctor will talk with you about your options, which may include minimally invasive shoulder surgery that provides faster healing with less pain.

Contact Us

Are you struggling with shoulder arthritis? Schedule an appointment with our Sports Medicine physicians for a treatment plan tailored to you. Call (859) 212-5600 to make an appointment.

If surgery is necessary, our physicians can provide a referral to one of our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons. For more information on surgical options, please contact us at askortho@stelizabeth.com.