Shoulder Arthritis

Arthritis refers to degenerative changes within a joint. Osteoarthritis, is the most common type of Arthritis and affects all joints, it is due to “wear and tear” within the joint. Another type of Arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis, which is an “Inflammatory” arthritis

In the shoulder, arthritis can sometimes affect the shoulder joint or the acromioclavicular joint (joint between the collarbone and acromium.

Arthritis leads to pain and stiffness and often swelling. This can affect a patients function and activity. It can often affect sleep.

The different types of arthritis often increase with age, although inflammatory arthritis like Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at a younger age. The conditions are diagnosed of by an X-ray, but sometimes special blood tests and scans are required.

Treatment depends on various factors but often simple painkillers including anti-inflammatories or modifying daily activities may help. Sometimes more complex medicines are required (rheumatoid arthritis).

If these don’t work, then physiotherapy, or injections can often improve things significantly. Sometimes surgery is required, and this could be in the form of simple Shoulder Arthroscopy: or more complex procedures like Joint replacement surgery.

If the Acromioclavicular joint is involved. This can be treated by a relatively simple key-hole operation (arthroscopy) where this small joint is excised (acromioclavicular joint excision). This is normally performed in conjunction with a subacromial decompression.

Ask your shoulder doctor / specialist for more information if required, when you see him.

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