Understanding Shoulder Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis, also known as glenohumeral arthritis, occurs when the cartilage in the shoulder joint deteriorates, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. This condition can affect individuals of all ages, but it's more common in older adults due to wear and tear over time.

Causes of Shoulder Arthritis:

  1. Age-related Degeneration: As we age, the cartilage in our joints naturally wears down, increasing the risk of arthritis.
  2. Overuse or Repetitive Strain: Activities involving repetitive overhead motions or heavy lifting can accelerate joint wear and tear.
  3. Previous Injuries: Trauma or previous shoulder injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, may predispose individuals to develop arthritis.
  4. Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing arthritis, making them more susceptible to the condition.

Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis:

  1. Persistent Shoulder Pain: Chronic pain in the shoulder joint, especially during movement or at rest, is a common symptom of arthritis.
  2. Stiffness and Limited Range of Motion: Arthritic shoulders often feel stiff, making it challenging to perform daily activities like reaching or lifting.
  3. Swelling and Inflammation: Inflammation of the shoulder joint can lead to swelling and tenderness around the affected area.
  4. Clicking or Grinding Sensation: As the cartilage deteriorates, you may experience a clicking or grinding sensation in the shoulder joint, known as crepitus.

Treatment Options:

  1. Non-Surgical Approaches:
    • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and improve flexibility.
    • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs may alleviate symptoms temporarily.
    • Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids directly into the shoulder joint can provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation.
  2. Surgical Interventions:
    • Arthroscopic Surgery: Minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroscopic debridement or synovectomy, may be recommended to remove damaged tissue and alleviate symptoms.
    • Joint Replacement Surgery: In severe cases of shoulder arthritis, total shoulder replacement surgery may be necessary to replace the damaged joint with an artificial implant.


At Upper Extremity Specialists, our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for patients with shoulder arthritis. If you're experiencing shoulder pain or suspect arthritis, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. Together, we'll develop a personalized treatment plan to help you regain mobility, reduce pain, and improve your quality of life.

To schedule an appointment, visit our website at https://www.upperextremityspecialists.com/schedule or call us at 858-824-1703. Your journey to optimal shoulder health starts here.

Stay tuned to our blog for more informative articles on orthopedic conditions and treatment options. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to your health and well-being.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How a Boutonnière Deformity Is Treated

How a Boutonnière Deformity Is Treated

Have you recently suffered a finger injury? If your middle joint juts upward and the tip of your finger juts upward as well, it could be a boutonnière deformity. Read on to learn how it can be treated.
Take These Steps to Prevent Sports Injuries

Take These Steps to Prevent Sports Injuries

Playing sports offers a host of benefits for athletes of all ages, but sports can be dangerous — and injuries are common. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to protect your health. Follow these steps to stay safe and improve your performance.
Are You a Good Candidate for Lipogems?

Are You a Good Candidate for Lipogems?

Do you have a painful condition and are wondering about your treatment options? Have you considered Lipogems®? This minimally invasive therapy is designed to stimulate the body’s healing process to stop pain for good.
What are Pericytes and How Can They Help You Heal?

What are Pericytes and How Can They Help You Heal?

You’ve probably heard of stem cell therapy. But, did you know that pericytes offer many of the same benefits, and they’re found in your fatty tissue? Find out how pericytes work and how lipoaspirate therapy stimulates healing from within.
6 Common Sports Injuries and How They’re Treated

6 Common Sports Injuries and How They’re Treated

From sprained wrists to rotator cuff tears, upper extremity injuries are common among athletes of all ages. Learn about six of the most common sports injuries and find out what to do if you get injured on the field.