Shoulder Arthritis

What is it?

It is a type of osteoarthritis, in which the cartilage at the point where the collar bone meets the shoulder blade wears down. This causes pain and swelling in the joint, and sometimes results in bone spurs due to direct rubbing of the bones.


  • Shoulder arthritis is an age-related disorder, and primarily occurs in people over the age of 50 years.
  • In younger people, it can be a result of a fractured or dislocated shoulder
  • In some cases, arthritis is hereditary


  • The sufferer is most likely to have extreme pain while moving the shoulder and after moving the shoulder. It may even hurt when the sufferer is asleep.
  • Limited range and freedom of motion of the shoulder
  • Shoulders produce a creaking noise during motion, where the bones rub against each other


  • A physical examination may be carried out to diagnose shoulder arthritis
  • X-rays and MRI scans are used to detect the level of cartilage wear
  • Analysis of Synovial fluid from the joint is done to detect any abnormalities


In non-surgical therapy, the doctor may recommend

  • Resting the shoulder joint and change in lifestyle
  • Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physiotherapy
  • Ice packs, moist heat
  • Supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin in addition to a balanced diet

If non-surgical therapy does not work properly, surgeries are available

  • Shoulder joint replacement (replacing the whole shoulder joint with an artificial joint)
  • Replacement of head of Humerus (bone in the upper arm)
  • Removal of a small piece of the end of collar bone, after which the space fills with scar tissue


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