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What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis?

man having shoulder evaluatedShoulder arthritis can cause issues with range of motion, making your daily activities more difficult and causing pain. In this blog, the doctors at Mirza Orthopedics will explain shoulder arthritis symptoms.

What is shoulder arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis refers to inflammation of the shoulder joint, which can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling.

What are common shoulder arthritis symptoms?

Shoulder arthritis symptoms include pain that may affect different parts of your shoulder. The pain may be on the back of your shoulder, on the top, or throughout the shoulder. Depending on where the initial pain is located, it may also radiate to nearby areas, such as the neck, and it may become worse over time so that your shoulder hurts even when you’re not moving it.

In addition, your shoulder’s range of motion may be limited, and you may find it more difficult to complete everyday tasks that require you to reach up, such as combing your hair. You may also hear a clicking or grinding noise as you move your shoulder.

What causes shoulder arthritis?

The cause of shoulder arthritis depends on the type of arthritis that’s involved. The following are several types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of shoulder arthritis and occurs most often in people over age 50. Over time – or after an injury – the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones where they meet to form joints starts to break down. As bones rub together, it can cause pain, stiffness, loss of movement, and bony projections called bone spurs.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This chronic inflammatory disease causes your immune system to attack the membrane that lines your joints. If you have this type of shoulder arthritis, you’re likely to have it in both shoulders.
  • Gout: Although it’s usually associated with the big toe or the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, elbows, and knees, gout can also affect the shoulder. It’s caused by the buildup of excess uric acid in the joints.
  • Lupus: This autoimmune disease commonly affects the hands and feet but can also affect the shoulders.

What are the treatment options for shoulder arthritis?

Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis you have, but the following are some of the most common types of treatment:

  • Modifications to daily tasks: You can make routine tasks a little easier with helpers such as reaching tools and clothing that closes in the front.
  • Moist heat and ice packs: These can help reduce pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These over-the counter medications include ibuprofen (such as Motrin and Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). They help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Corticosteroids: These can be taken orally or by injection and help control inflammation.
  • Analgesic creams: These may help with pain, but not inflammation, and they’re often recommended for people who can’t take NSAIDs. Brand names include Aspercreme, Ben-Gay, and Icy Hot.
  • Osteoporosis medications: These medications can help slow the loss of bone or even help your body build new bone.
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs: These medicine work to modify inflammatory diseases, and different ones may be prescribed, depending on the type of arthritis you have.
  • Gout medications: Some types reduce the level of uric acid in your blood, and others reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Biologic response modifiers: These medications help block part of the inflammation process.

If nonsurgical treatments aren’t effective in providing enough pain relief, surgery may be needed. The type of surgery considered depends on the specific area of your shoulder that’s affected by arthritis. Surgical options can include:

  • Total shoulder arthroplasty: Also known as shoulder joint replacement, this procedure replaces the ball and socket of the shoulder joint.
  • Hemiathroplasty: This procedure involves a replacement of the ball of the humerus (the long bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow).
  • Reverse shoulder arthroplasty: Similar to a total shoulder arthroplasty, this surgery is often more appropriate for patients who have degenerated rotator cuff tendons.
  • Resection AC joint arthroplasty: This surgery removes a small piece of the end of the collarbone (the AC joint).

Where can I find treatment for my shoulder arthritis on Long Island?

Mirza Orthopedics is the premier orthopedic shoulder, hand, wrist, and elbow center on Long Island. Our orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza, have the expertise, experience, and commitment to research and innovation that enables them to provide the most effective treatments for shoulder arthritis and other orthopedic conditions. We offer the latest treatment options, including surgical and non-surgical therapies and are committed to providing patient-centered, compassionate care.

If you’ve experiencing shoulder arthritis symptoms, make an appointment with Mirza Orthopedics today. We’re dedicated to helping our patients resume their active lives with the best possible results and less downtime.

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