FAQS on Shoulder Joint Arthritis
About 52.5 million Americans suffer from arthritis while 22 million face movement restrictions due to the disorder, claims the National Health Interview Survey. The risk of developing shoulder joint arthritis increases with age damaging the cartilage layer around the ball and socket structure. Platelet-rich plasma, steroid, hyaluronic acid, and anti-inflammatory injections offer a viable alternative to joint replacement surgery to overcome the painful shoulder arthritis.
What is shoulder joint arthritis?
Shoulder joint arthritis refers to pain sensation caused by inflammation in the glenohumeral joint. The cartilage around this ball-and-socket structure is damaged due to wear and tear, injury, disease, or medical mistakes. As result, friction between bones increases leading to decreased mobility and pain in the shoulder joint.
How does shoulder joint arthritis occur?
Arthritis is described as a joint inflammatory disorder. A layer of cartilage (smooth soft tizzues) connects bones with each other at the glenohumeral joint. Bones grind with each other directly if the cartilage is damaged. Such pressure causes inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion in the joint and growth of bone spurs further aggravates the condition.
Friction between bones impedes the smooth movement of the joint and pain forces patients to keep away themselves from a range of motions.
There are various types of shoulder joint arthritis based on the factors contributing to it.
- Osteoarthritis traced to wearing down of the joint cartilage with age or due to overuse.
- Post-traumatic arthritis impacts the shoulder joint following injury or trauma that damages the cartilage.
- Rheumatoid shoulder joint arthritis or chronic inflammation of the glenohumeral joint due to autoimmune disorder.
- Chondrolysis arthritis occurs when the shoulder joint cartilage is damage following shoulder surgery.
- Avascular necrosis or shoulder joint arthritis due to disruptions in the blood supply to the arm bone.
What are the symptoms of shoulder joint arthritis?
- Pain is the foremost symptom of shoulder joint arthritis. Patients experience pain in the front or back shoulder and it worsens with shoulder movements.
- Stiffness in the shoulder joint as bones rub with each other.
- Limited range of shoulder motion
- Moderate to severe shoulder weakness
- Dull ache in the shoulder when sleeping on it
- Shoulder joint pain worsens with weather changes
- Progressive shoulder pain with overhead activity
- May be grinding or clicking feeling in the shoulder joint
- Tenderness around the joint
What are the main causes shoulder joint arthritis?
- Degenerative disorder impacting the joint cartilage
- Overuse of shoulder joint by athletes
- Injury or damage to the shoulder joint
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cartilage damaged during shoulder surgery.
- Inadequate blood supply to the shoulder joint
- Rotator cuff injury
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Shoulder bone scar or spurs
Who are at the risk of shoulder joint arthritis?
Those in their sixties face the risk of shoulder joint arthritis. Athletes overusing their shoulders frequently or those not doing regular exercises may also face the risk. Food habits, shoulder injury, and sedentary lifestyle also enhance the risk of being diagnosed with shoulder joint arthritis at an early age.
How is shoulder joint arthritis diagnosed?
Physical examination of the shoulder joint is the most common way of diagnosing the disorder. Doctors examine for muscle weakness, shoulder tenderness, signs of ligament injury, grating sensation, and pain feeling when pressure is exerted. Patients also perform passive and active shoulder movements during the evaluation. X-rays may be suggested to identify exact cause or type of shoulder joint arthritis.
What are the treatment methods available for shoulder joint arthritis?
- Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to overcome pain. Methotrexate or similar drugs may also be suggested for rheumatoid arthritis. However, these drugs have side effects.
- Surgery: There two types of surgery resorted to treat shoulder joint arthritis.
- Arthroscopy or small incisive surgery to cut, clean out, or repair damaged ligament tissues or tiny bone parts. But such a procedure does not assure freedom of arthritis.
- Arthroplasty to replace parts of the shoulder. Artificial components replace either the humerus or both the glenoid and humerus.
- Reverse arthroplasty to place a plastic cup covering the humerus head that reduces friction.
The surgical implantation is an invasive procedure and the follow-up rehabilitation takes months. Implants also pose the risk of metal toxicity, limited mobility, and early failure.
- Therapy: Physical therapy, moist heat, icing, physiotherapy, and similar treatments also help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Lifestyle Changes: If shoulder joint arthritis impacts early, lifestyle changes, such as rest, flexibility enhancing workouts, and taking daily dietary supplements also alleviate symptoms.
- Pain Management Injections
- PRP injections: Platelet-rich plasma injected to the ligaments to resurrect the damaged ligament and restore it naturally.
- Stem cell injections: Stem cells when injected revive the damaged ligaments and heal scarred bones leading to reduced inflammation and pain.
- Anesthetic injections: Lidocaine and similar substances injected to lessen inflammation and pain.
- Cortisone injections: Steroid injected to suppress swelling, inflammation, and pain associated with shoulder joint arthritis.
- Glenohumeral joint injections: Anti-inflammatory medications inserted in to the joint reduce inflammation and improve mobility.
- Hyaluronic acid injection: Hyaluronic acid is a natural lubricant that lubricates the joint and revives the damaged ligament. Reduction in inflammation assures better mobility without pain.
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