- CONDITION - Shoulder Arthritis (DJD)
CONDITION - Shoulder Arthritis (DJD)
When orthopedic surgeons talk about arthritis of the shoulder, they typically mean arthritis of the large glenohumeral (ball and socket) joint. There is a second joint in the shoulder (the acromioclavicular joint or AC joint, which is frequently is injured in "shoulder separations"). While the AC joint is arthritic in many people, arthritis in the glenohumeral joint, which we will discuss here, is more rare.
There are three major types of shoulder arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis —This is a gradual wearing down of the joint cartilage that happens with age and/or overuse.
- Post-traumatic arthritis —This happens after significant trauma (like a car accident) or after repeated trauma (like recurrent shoulder dislocations).
- Rheumatoid arthritis —This is a disease where the body attacks its own cartilage and destroys it.
All of these arthritic process have one thing in common: the cartilage of the shoulder joint gets destroyed. When this happens, you lose the normal smooth rubbing together of the two parts of the joint. Instead these surfaces become like sandpaper.
The symptoms (common physical complaints) in arthritis of the shoulder include:
- Pain— Pain primarily in the front of your shoulder. Sometimes you can have pain at the side of your shoulder. Pain becomes worse with virtually any motion of the shoulder, not just overhead activity like in rotator cuff disease.
- Weakness —Moderate to severe weakness.
- Stiffness —This is a major component of shoulder arthritis. This stiffness is often severe and has developed over many years. Sometimes, the stiffness and loss of motion alone can be the biggest problem!
- Grinding —Because the shoulder has lost some or all of its cartilage, the surfaces of the joint are no longer smooth.
- Unable to Sleep on Shoulder —Most patients with shoulder arthritis complain of difficulty sleeping on the shoulder at night.
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