Shoulder Arthritis Types and Causes

Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the shoulder wears out or deteriorates. Millions of people are diagnosed with arthritis each year. Arthritis in the shoulder is much less common than other types, and only accounts for a smaller percentage of all types. But there isn’t just one kind of shoulder arthritis, and not just one cause either.

shoulder arthritisTypes of Shoulder Arthritis

Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder – This kind of arthritis results from normal wear-and-tear. All joints have a smooth layer of cartilage to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. This form of arthritis usually happens as you age, since overtime that cartilage layer becomes worn down. This can cause pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder tends to affect people above the age of 50.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Shoulder – Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning your immune system attacks your own tissue. Your shoulder joints have a lining to help lubricate them while moving. This lining is called synovium and is what your immune system attacks during rheumatoid arthritis. Since the is a chronic disease, you’ll tend to experience this form of shoulder arthritis in both shoulders. It can cause inflammation which leads to pain and especially stiffness in both shoulders. 

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy – This can happen after a long period of having a rotator cuff tear, even if fixed. The damage the rotator cuff tear causes to the surrounding cartilage can cause shifting around of the humerus bone and socket. Due to the misplacement of the humerus, your bones can rub together causing extreme pain and the inability to lift the arm that’s being affected.

Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis

There is no real treatment for most shoulder arthritis conditions, but there are plenty of options to relieve symptoms.  Treatments for any of these types of arthritis and their symptoms can range from medication all the way to surgery depending on the severity of the case. Sometimes, patients are referred to a physical therapist to help with the symptoms. 

If you’ve been experiencing the same shoulder pain for over 3 months and think you fit into one of these categories, contact Dr. Samuel Koo by calling (425) 823-4000 to set up an appointment.

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