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Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

man with shoulder pain

The shoulder joint has more movement than any other joint in the body. Shoulder arthritis can make these frequent movements more painful.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

The two main types of shoulder arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is typically seen in people over 50 and is due to the wear and tear the shoulder joint goes through over time. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that affects many joints in the body.

How is Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosed?

Your doctor determines if you have shoulder arthritis by first discussing your symptoms and taking your medical history. During a shoulder examination, your doctor looks for:

  • Pain when pressure is placed on the joint
  • Muscle weakness (atrophy)
  • Shoulder tenderness when touched
  • Signs of injury to the areas surrounding the shoulder joint
  • Any limitations on the normal range of motion
  • A grating sensation inside the shoulder as it moves
  • If any other joints show arthritis signs, which can mean shoulder pain is due to RA

Your doctor may order X-rays for the bones in your shoulder(s). X-rays can help your doctor determine what form of arthritis may be present.

What Does Arthritis in the Shoulder Feel Like?

Arthritis in the shoulder can cause pain and make it difficult to use your shoulder. You can even feel pain in the shoulder while sleeping if you have shoulder arthritis.

What Are the Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis?

Other signs and symptoms of shoulder arthritis include:

  • Limited range of motion when trying to move the arm
  • Shoulder movement produces a clicking or grating noise

Can Shoulder Arthritis Be Treated?

Shoulder arthritis can be removed from the shoulder using surgery:

Shoulder Arthroscopy: Some cases of mild arthritis may be treated with shoulder arthroscopy. During surgery, your doctor inserts a tiny scope into the shoulder joint through a small incision. Using the images, your doctor uses micro-instruments to clean out the inside of the joint. While this procedure won't eliminate arthritis from the shoulder, it does provide pain relief.

Shoulder Joint Replacement: In advanced cases of arthritis, shoulder replacement surgery may be needed to alleviate pain and restore range of motion. In this procedure, damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components.

What Are the Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder pain from arthritis is treated like other forms of arthritis including:

  • Resting the shoulder
  • Icing and applying moist heat
  • Modifying activities that strain the shoulder
  • Exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid Injections

Can You Lift Weights with Shoulder Arthritis?

Lifting weights can help you manage arthritis pain by helping to

  • Control joint swelling and pain
  • Build muscles around joints
  • Lubricate Joints
  • Reduce bone loss

Is Heat Good for Arthritis?

Heat is good to treat arthritis pain and stiffness. Heat is also good before your exercise, as it makes the joints more flexible and may increase the amount of lubrication in the joints.

If you believe you have symptoms of shoulder arthritis and are looking for treatment options, make an appointment today with one of our NY Orthopedics locations in New York City. Our “Centers of Excellence” offer top-level orthopedic treatment for any concerns about your hand & wrists and other joints, all in one location.

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