Arthritis is a condition characterized by the inflammation and damage of the cartilage in joints. Cartilage is a smooth and flexible tissue that covers the ends of bones, allowing them to glide smoothly against each other during joint movement. When the cartilage in the shoulder joint starts to wear down, it can lead to shoulder arthritis.
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What is Shoulder Arthritis - Orthopedic Surgery
Shoulder arthritis is indeed a degenerative condition that affects the shoulder joint. It involves the breakdown of the protective cartilage that covers the ends of the bones within the joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
The causes of shoulder arthritis can vary. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is typically associated with wear and tear over time. The exact underlying cause of osteoarthritis is still not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of factors such as age, genetics, joint overuse, and mechanical stress.
While osteoarthritis is more prevalent in weight-bearing joints like the hip and knee, it can still occur in the shoulder joint. However, you are correct that shoulder arthritis is less common than hip or knee arthritis due to the differences in how we use and bear weight on our arms compared to our legs. The shoulder joint experiences less repetitive stress and load-bearing compared to the lower extremities, which can contribute to a lower incidence of osteoarthritis in the shoulder.
Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also affect the shoulder joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovial membrane that lines the joints, leading to inflammation, cartilage damage, and joint degeneration.
It's important to note that while shoulder arthritis may have various causes, the exact mechanisms and factors contributing to its development are still being researched. Treatment options for shoulder arthritis aim to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance quality of life, and can range from conservative measures like physical therapy and medication to more invasive interventions like joint injections or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition and individual circumstances.
An orthopedic surgeon is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgical management of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. They have extensive knowledge and training in the field of orthopedics, which includes the treatment of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
When it comes to shoulder conditions, orthopedic surgeons play a crucial role in evaluating and treating patients with shoulder pain and stiffness. They are trained to diagnose the underlying cause of the symptoms, whether it's shoulder arthritis, rotator cuff injuries, or other soft tissue and joint injuries.
In the case of shoulder arthritis, orthopedic surgeons may recommend various treatment options based on the severity of the condition and the patient's individual circumstances. Non-surgical approaches such as physical therapy, pain management, and lifestyle modifications may be recommended initially. If conservative measures are not effective in relieving the symptoms, surgical interventions like shoulder arthroscopy or joint replacement may be considered.
Orthopedic surgeons work closely with patients to develop personalized treatment plans that aim to alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance the overall quality of life. They may also collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists or rheumatologists, to provide comprehensive care for patients with shoulder conditions.
It's important to note that the information provided here is general in nature and may not capture the full scope of an orthopedic surgeon's practice. The specific treatment approach and recommendations can vary based on individual cases and the expertise of the healthcare provider.
Types & Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis
Shoulder arthritis is basically a degeneration of the joint. It can be caused from by known causes of joint degeneration from use, trauma and even inflammatory type processes such as rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis in the shoulder is not as prevalent as it is in the hip or knee joint, only because humans walk and weight bear on their feet and their legs rather than their arms. It’s most common in people over the age of 60, although it’s found in younger patients who do extreme sports.
Both the acromioclavicular (AC) joint (where the clavicle meets the tip of the shoulder blade) and the glenohumeral joint (where the head of the humerus fits into the scapula) can be affected by arthritis. Symptoms of shoulder arthritis include pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. To make a diagnosis, your Rheumatologist or orthopedic surgeon physician will probably recommend an x-ray. Often seeing a physiotherapist after surgery isa good optiuon.
Shoulder arthritis can often be treated non-surgically. Non-surgical shoulder arthritis treatments include:
If you are experiencing shoulder arthritis that does not respond to non-surgical options, your physician or orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery. The specific surgical options for shoulder arthritis depend on the severity of the condition.
For milder cases of shoulder arthritis, arthroscopy may be recommended. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where a small camera is inserted into the shoulder joint, allowing the surgeon to view the joint on a TV screen. With the help of tiny surgical instruments, the surgeon can repair the joint and alleviate pain.
In more severe cases of shoulder arthritis, a shoulder joint replacement may be necessary. During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged parts of the shoulder joint and replaces them with an artificial prosthesis.
It is important to note that adherence to prescribed treatments is crucial for successful health outcomes. This includes taking medications as prescribed, following recommended exercises, and making any lifestyle changes advised by your healthcare provider, such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, or reducing alcohol consumption. Compliance with these treatments is essential for achieving positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.
If you suspect you have shoulder arthritis and are experiencing pain and stiffness, it is recommended to consult with a local orthopedic surgeon or physician. They can evaluate your symptoms, perform a baseline X-ray of the shoulder, and provide a diagnosis based on their expertise.