Living With Shoulder Arthritis

While the shoulders may not be weight-bearing joints like your hips and knees, over time, they can develop pain, injury, or arthritis. This can be especially true if you play sports or have a job or hobby that requires repetitive motion. Even if you're not constantly overusing your shoulder joint, aging and general wear-and-tear can sometimes cause osteoarthritis to develop. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or post-traumatic, may also occur in the shoulder due to an underlying condition or a previous injury.

When arthritis develops in the shoulders, simple activities such as reaching in the cupboard for an item or putting on deodorant can trigger pain, making living with shoulder arthritis hard to manage. And often, pain can worsen in the evening, interfering with sleep and affecting your overall quality of life.

Symptoms of shoulder arthritis

In addition to pain, other common symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include:

  • Crackling or clicking noise in the joint with movement
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Pain with sleeping
  • Difficulty with motion

Since arthritis progresses over time, developing a treatment plan for your arthritis when it starts can be your best course of action.

Treatment options to help you live with shoulder arthritis

While there is currently no cure for arthritis of the shoulder, treatment options are available to help you live with shoulder arthritis, manage the pain and stay active. These include:

  • Modifying or reducing the overhead use of your arms
  • Targeted exercises and physical therapy programs
  • Anti-inflammatories, ice, and cortisone injections to reduce pain

Some people have found nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to be helpful in managing their shoulder arthritis as well - although, there is not significant clinical data to prove the value of these supplements.

Surgical treatment for shoulder arthritis

As arthritis progresses and starts to limit your ability to perform everyday tasks, the time may come to consider surgery. If that occurs, your orthopedic surgeon can help you decide the best surgical option to treat your shoulder arthritis, which may include arthroscopy or joint replacement surgery.

If you think you may have arthritis of the shoulder or are seeking a second option for treatment, please call 513-221-5500 to schedule a consultation, or click to learn more about how our team of experts can help with shoulder pain.

Allison Rao, MD, orthopedic surgeon

​Dr. Rao is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and shoulder surgery with an emphasis on innovative, arthroscopic procedures and complex, open surgeries of the shoulder, elbow, and knee. She treats a full spectrum of orthopedic injuries in patients and athletes of all ages, with a special interest in shoulder injuries and surgery. She is actively involved in clinical research and is an expert in nonsurgical management and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries such as tennis elbow, meniscus tears and ACL injuries. Her care philosophy is to utilize evidence-based, individualized treatment plans to get her patients back to the activities they enjoy, and to prevent further injuries.

Living With Shoulder Arthritis Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis. Learn the symptoms of shoulder arthritis and treatment options.

While the shoulders may not be weight-bearing joints like your hips and knees, over time, they can develop pain, injury, or arthritis. This can be especially true if you play sports or have a job or hobby that requires repetitive motion. Even if you're not constantly overusing your shoulder joint, aging and general wear-and-tear can sometimes cause osteoarthritis to develop. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or post-traumatic, may also occur in the shoulder due to an underlying condition or a previous injury.

When arthritis develops in the shoulders, simple activities such as reaching in the cupboard for an item or putting on deodorant can trigger pain, making living with shoulder arthritis hard to manage. And often, pain can worsen in the evening, interfering with sleep and affecting your overall quality of life.

Symptoms of shoulder arthritis

In addition to pain, other common symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include:

  • Crackling or clicking noise in the joint with movement
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Pain with sleeping
  • Difficulty with motion

Since arthritis progresses over time, developing a treatment plan for your arthritis when it starts can be your best course of action.

Treatment options to help you live with shoulder arthritis

While there is currently no cure for arthritis of the shoulder, treatment options are available to help you live with shoulder arthritis, manage the pain and stay active. These include:

  • Modifying or reducing the overhead use of your arms
  • Targeted exercises and physical therapy programs
  • Anti-inflammatories, ice, and cortisone injections to reduce pain

Some people have found nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to be helpful in managing their shoulder arthritis as well - although, there is not significant clinical data to prove the value of these supplements.

Surgical treatment for shoulder arthritis

As arthritis progresses and starts to limit your ability to perform everyday tasks, the time may come to consider surgery. If that occurs, your orthopedic surgeon can help you decide the best surgical option to treat your shoulder arthritis, which may include arthroscopy or joint replacement surgery.

If you think you may have arthritis of the shoulder or are seeking a second option for treatment, please call 513-221-5500 to schedule a consultation, or click to learn more about how our team of experts can help with shoulder pain.

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