Shoulder arthritis is a condition where the cartilage that connects humeral head to the glenoid in the shoulder has been injured or damaged. In normal conditions, the surface of the bone that connects to another bone is usually covered with a layer of cartilage that creates a very smooth surface that dramatically decreases friction during movement. If the person has shoulder arthritis, the hyaline articular cartilage that is supposed to cover the bone has been diminished or damaged. This leads to the bone surface being exposed and thus friction is greatly increased. The bone surface will grate with another bone and this can cause extreme pain and possibly loss of function.
That is the reason why the number one manifestation of shoulder arthritis is pain. The lack of necessary cartilage will create a grinding and grating sound when there is movement on the shoulder area. Thus, movement will aggravate the pain. The pain in shoulder arthritis may be felt at the front of the shoulder and may cause weakness to the affected arm. Significant swelling may also be seen at the shoulder area and tenderness will be felt upon palpation. The shoulder will be stiff as well.
Diagnosis of shoulder arthritis can be done though x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging paired with the findings of the physical examination and complete medical history. The most common form of shoulder arthritis is osteoarthritis. In older people, the cartilage covering the bones’ surfaces will gradually diminish and degenerate. This phenomenon is the cause of osteoarthritis especially in adults. In younger people, direct shoulder injury or trauma may be the cause of the injury to the cartilage and it may shatter into different fragments as well.
It is important to note that the risk of having shoulder arthritis will be increased if the person has previously had a shoulder injury. Genetics may also play a part in this disorder. If your family has a history of arthritis or osteoarthritis, then there is a probability that you will develop that too once you get to a certain age.
Treating shoulder arthritis is mainly centered on alleviation of the pain sensation. Because the fibrous cartilage that has already been damaged does not regenerate itself, then pain relief shall be provided to patients to afford temporary cure. Given that the basic treatments are provided, patients should be informed that the success story of one patient might not necessarily be the case to his or her condition.
Physical therapy can definitely be of enormous help. This helps increase range of motion and can strengthen muscles and joints surrounding the injury site to provide a permanent relief of the symptoms of shoulder arthritis.