Arthritis of the shoulder joint is not as common as arthritis affecting the hip or knee but can be just as disabling. Normal shoulder function is important to enable us to position our hands in space, allowing us to perform a wide range of day-to-day tasks that most of us take for granted. Arthritis of the shoulder causes pain and loss of motion such that these tasks become unpleasant, difficult or simply impossible.
Shoulder arthritis generally refers to osteoarthritis (wear and tear) of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. There are, however, other varieties of arthritis that can affect the shoulder region. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the shoulder joint in the same way that other joints in the body can be affected by this systemic disease. The shoulder is also susceptible to a pattern of arthritis that occurs due to long standing rotator cuff disease – Rotator Cuff Arthropathy. Osteoarthritis can also affect the smaller AC joint at the top of the shoulder – AC Joint Arthropathy.
It is important to understand what kind of arthritis is affecting your shoulder as the treatment options for each can be very different. Primary shoulder (glenohumeral joint) osteoarthritis can be the result of preceding injury, recurrent instability or simply a genetic susceptibility. More so than hip and knee arthritis, shoulder arthritis is commonly seen in a younger population (under the age of 50).
Treatment options for shoulder arthritis should be tailored to your individual concerns and needs as there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Dr Alexander has a special interest in modern treatment options for shoulder arthritis, especially in the younger, highly active population and will discuss all of these options in detail with you.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery is one of the treatment options for arthritis if the shoulder. Dr Alexander has undertaken advanced specialty training in a variety of modern shoulder replacement techniques and can discuss exactly what option may be best suited to your shoulder.