Shoulder Arthritis

An orthopaedic surgeon who will give
the best care possible.

Arthritis damages your muscles and tendons as well as your joints and ligaments causing joint pain and a limited range of motion.

Types of Shoulder Arthritis

There are 5 types of arthritis that affect the shoulder:

As we age, the smooth surfaces of the cartilage that line the bones of the shoulder joint begin to wear out and become larger causing osteoarthritis – mainly caused by overuse. This is most common in people over the age of 50.
Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness

An autoimmune disease causing one or more joints to become inflamed and may affect both shoulders at the same time. Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause your shoulder bones to erode and become deformed over time.
Symptoms include:

  • Tenderness and warmth in the joints
  • Shoulder stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Fatigue, weight loss or fever

When blood cannot reach the long bone in your upper arm (humerus), the cells in your shoulder bone begin to die and subsequently destroys the joint tissue in the shoulder. This is a progressive disease and gradually worsens over time. Avascular necrosis can happen due to shoulder dislocations, fractures or high doses of steroids or alcohol abuse.

Shoulder injuries such as fractures and shoulder dislocations may eventually lead to post-traumatic arthritis which causes fluid to build up in the shoulder joint, pain and swelling.

Generally caused by a rip in the tendons of the rotator cuff commonly causing a form of arthritis to develop.
Symptoms include:

  • Intense pain
  • Muscle weakness that can make lifting difficult

Arthritic Shoulder Treatments

Depending on the type of arthritis you have, Dr James McLean may recommend:

  • Lifestyle management such as rest, physical therapy or range of motion exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgery (only if all other treatment fails) and may include joint replacement surgery, arthroscopy or resection arthroplasty.

When should I book an appointment with Dr McLean?

We recommend booking an appointment if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain in the shoulder and are unable to move it after 24 hours
  • Severe swelling
  • Popping or cracking sounds in the shoulder joint area
  • Loss of feeling or pins and needles in the hand or arm
  • Difficulty conducting everyday activities

How Dr James McLean can help:

Dr James McLean has extensive upper limb experience, including soft tissue and bone injuries. He will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will have the best possible outcome for your shoulder injury.

How does your shoulder pain affect you?

Take our self-assessment and find out
how it impacts your daily activities

Shoulder pain can be caused by many different conditions.  Here you will learn whether your pain is normal or if you should seek medical advice.

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