Shoulder Arthritis | Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment of Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is an arthritic condition that affects your shoulder joint and surrounding structures, such as your rotator cuff. This condition is most commonly seen in the elderly (it is seen in 32% of people over 60 years), but people of all ages can develop shoulder arthritis. There are three main types of shoulder arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and rotator cuff arthritis. The most common form of shoulder arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when cartilage in the joint wears down and becomes replaced by bone and fluid.

If you’re experiencing joint stiffness, pain, or swelling, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Your symptoms might indicate an injury, such as a fracture, dislocation, muscle tear, or ligament tear. But if you’ve been diagnosed with shoulder arthritis and want to know what it is about, this article is for you.

We will walk you through everything you need to know about shoulder arthritis, including types of shoulder arthritis, signs and symptoms, the diagnostic process, and treatment of this condition.

Types of shoulder arthritis

Most of us think that arthritis is the same thing for everyone, but it is not. There are different types and subtypes, and even people with the same type of arthritis can have various manifestations of the disease. In shoulder arthritis, we can recognize three main types as mentioned above, but in reality, there are five. They are as follows:

  • Shoulder osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a term to describe a type of inflammatory disease in the shoulders that feature chronic wear down of the articulations. Osteoarthritis can be due to other conditions or develop because you have a wear and tear problem in your shoulders you never treated, and it complicates with inflammation.
  • Shoulder rheumatoid arthritis: This form of arthritis is perhaps the most severe because your own immune system is working against you and attacking your articulations. It can lead to severe pain with stiffness and deformation of the affected joint.
  • Post-traumatic shoulder arthritis: It develops after an injury. The damage that results from the trauma makes it difficult for the affected area of the bone to heal correctly. The damage may also destroy the cushions between the joints and cause a type of osteoarthritis.
  • Rotator cuff arthropathy: They are similar to a rotator cuff tear, where the tendons around the shoulder become damaged. Rotator cuffs are important because they allow you to turn your arm over. When these tissues are affected by arthritis, it will be very painful to move your shoulders, and sometimes the cause of rotator cuff arthropathies is difficult to determine.
  • Avascular necrosis: This is a condition that leads to the death of blood vessels in the shoulder. When this happens, the tissue dies, which prevents the bone from healing. This causes progressive damage to the joint and a severe limitation of movement.

Now, let’s discuss causes of shoulder arthritis.