Everything You Need to Know About Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder where the protective cartilages at the bone end wear down. This is a painful condition that is characterized by swelling. Osteoarthritis could affect any joint in our body and one of the joints involved is the shoulder joint.

Shoulder osteoarthritis is could develop in elderly people as with age, bones deteriorate and people’s physical activities become limited. But when it comes to developing osteoarthritis in young people, shoulder dislocation due to an injury could be the reason. A condition with the dislocated shoulder is serious and it may involve surgical fixation using implants like IM Nail or Bone Plate and Bone screws.

What is Shoulder Osteoarthritis?

There are two joints in our shoulder including acromioclavicular (AC) and glenohumeral joints. At the AC joint, the collarbone meets the tip of the shoulder blade and at the glenohumeral joint, connection of humerus and scapula is there. Shoulder osteoarthritis is most commonly seen in the acromioclavicular joint.

Who Are More Prone to Shoulder Osteoarthritis?

People above 50 years of age are more likely to develop shoulder osteoarthritis as bone deterioration is common after that age. In younger people, this condition is more likely due to trauma resulting in a dislocated shoulder.

Symptoms of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a painful condition, hence, pain while putting pressure on the injured shoulder or during physical activity is common. Pain while sleeping may also be experienced.

Besides this, osteoarthritis is also characterized by swelling, limited range of motion of the injured shoulder, and clicking sound may be experienced while moving the shoulder.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Physical examination and assessment of the medical history is the first line of diagnosis. This will help the orthopedist analyze the painful area and movements. The physical examination will also tell the doctor about the limited range of motion of the affected shoulder along with swelling and tenderness in the area.

After this, an X-ray examination is mandatory to assess the extent of the injury and other complications. The doctor may also suggest a blood examination to know whether rheumatoid arthritis is there or not. In certain cases, or when things are unclear, an MRI scan may also be indicated.

Treatment of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Taking proper rest and limiting the movement of the injured shoulder is the best treatment method. This is what doctors indicate as well in the starting. Resting is proven effective to relieve symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis in many.

Apart from taking rest, the pain management doctor will also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and provide relief from pain. It is always advised not to take any medicine on your own, do consult with the doctor first as not doing so could result in serious side effects. Besides this, the application of heat or ice is also an effective measure to reduce pain and swelling. One can use heat packs or ice packs available in the market.

Depending upon the condition of the patient, physical therapy will also be effective in bringing back the complete range of motion of the affected joint. If non-operative treatment methods fail to provide relief, surgery may be done and it will require the use of Orthopedic Implants and Instruments.

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