5 Sources Of Shoulder Arthritis That You Should Know

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints in the body which leads to damage of the cartilage between the joints. In shoulder arthritis, the inflammation results in pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. If you have experienced issues with your shoulder, here are five sources of shoulder arthritis that may be the culprit!

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a chronic autoimmune condition of the shoulder. Something that is autoimmune is defined as a disorder in which your body attacks its own healthy cells. This condition can develop in one or both shoulders and causes deterioration of the shoulder bones and lining as well as other deformities.

Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and RA nodules, which are bumps under the skin. It can also cause weight loss, fatigue, and possibly fever.

middle aged man suffering from shoulder pain

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

You can develop post-traumatic arthritis after an injury to the shoulder like a fracture or dislocation. Over time fluid can build up causing pain and swelling. This type of arthritis is typically found in athletes. 

Avascular Necrosis

Known as AVA, avascular necrosis is a progressive disease which destroys the joint tissues in the shoulder. This painful condition causes inadequate blood flow to reach the humerus bone in the upper arm triggering the bone cells to die.  At first this will only affect the upper part of the bone, but over time it can result in the collapse of the humerus bone damaging the socket of the shoulder. 

Avascular necrosis can be caused by the following:

  • Fracture of the shoulder
  • Dislocation of the shoulder
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Excessive use of steroids 
  • Sickle cell disease


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it can affect the shoulder, hands, knees and hips. Typically caused by “wear and tear” as one ages, osteoarthritis usually affects adults over the age of 50. 

Osteoarthritis attacks the cartilage between the bones as it develops. When the cartilage deteriorates, bones no longer have their protective cartilage between them, and they rub against each other causing pain.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

Arthritis can develop after a tear in a rotator cuff tendon. The four rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder wrap around the ball of the shoulder joint keeping it in place. If one of the tendons has been torn, it can cause the head of the humerus bone to rub against other bones.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tear arthropathy include intense pain and muscle weakness. Those experiencing this type of arthritis may find it difficult to lift anything overhead.

There are multiple treatments available for all types of shoulder arthritis.  Make sure to seek help from Dr. Samuel Koo if you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your shoulder.

To schedule an appointment, please call (425) 823-4000 or make an appointment online today!

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COVID-19 Update

4/21/20 Update: Effective immediately, Dr. Koo is seeing patients through telehealth visits and in-person visits at our clinic. Call today to schedule your appointment!

Dr. Samuel Koo is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updated from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

To better serve you, Dr. Koo is now proud to offer virtual visits. With telehealth, you can meet with Dr. Koo from the comfort and safety of your own home. Please call our office today to learn more about this service or to schedule an appointment.

As of last Friday the governor of Washington state issued a declaration that all non-urgent or emergent surgical cases be postponed until the week of May 18th. For more information, please reach out to our office at (425) 823-4000.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control