Shoulder osteoarthritis

Table of contents:

  1. What is osteoarthritis of the shoulder?
  2. Prognosis of the disease
  3. Symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis
  4. Medical tests for shoulder osteoarthritis
  5. What are the causes?
  6. Can it be prevented?
  7. Treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis
  8. What specialist treats it?

What is osteoarthritis of the shoulder?

Osteoarthritis is a rheumatic pathology that damages the articular cartilage. Our mobility depends on the joints and cartilage, so when these are damaged, pain and inability to move are produced.

This type of osteoarthritis is one of the most frequent, after knee and hip osteoarthritis.

Prognosis of the disease

It is a pathology that presents various stages and has no cure, but with proper and timely treatment, it is possible to reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life of people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis

The main symptom of osteoarthritis is pain. In addition, in more advanced stages there is stiffness or loss of mobility, which can limit the patient’s daily life.
In general, symptoms begin to manifest themselves in later stages:
– Pain: increases with the development of the disease. In addition, at first, it usually arises as a consequence of activity and is reduced with rest. However, in more advanced stages, pain is also present during rest.
– Functional limitation: osteoarthritis can, in some cases, lead to mobility disability.
– Muscle atrophy: due to functional limitation, the structures in the area become damaged.
– Joint stiffness: this usually appears in the morning or after a long period of inactivity.

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The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint stiffness,
inability to move and pain

Medical tests to diagnose osteoarthritis of the shoulder

There are different ways to detect osteoarthritis of the shoulder that can be requested in the presence of compatible symptoms:
– X-ray: it allows to make an evaluation of the wear of the bone.
– Computerized tomography: it evaluates the degree of affectation of the pathology.
– Resonance
– Ultrasound
– Analytical analysis in which the articular fluid is evaluated.

What are the causes of osteoarthritis of the shoulder?

In general, it can have an unknown cause (primary) or be a consequence of another aspect (secondary), such as trauma, inflammatory diseases or previous surgeries. In addition, it can be generated by evolved rotator cuff tears.

In adults over 60 years of age, primary osteoarthritis is more frequent, while the younger population tends to develop secondary osteoarthritis.

Can it be prevented?

In the case of primary osteoarthritis it cannot be prevented. However, in the case of osteoarthritis with a secondary cause, there are possibilities to reduce the risk, as some reasons are trauma, previous surgeries or rotator cuff injuries.

Treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis

In the first place, and in the case of mild cases of osteoarthritis, conservative treatment is aimed at. The options are pharmacological treatment, intra-articular infiltrations with hyaluronic acid or corticoids and physiotherapy.

When these methods do not give positive results, surgery is usually performed to improve symptoms and restore joint function. In this sense, there are several surgical routes that can be evaluated:
– Prosthesis or arthroplasty: arthroscopy is indicated in mild cases and arthroplasty or total shoulder replacement for more advanced levels.

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– Inverted shoulder prosthesis for cases of osteoarthritis due to rotator cuff rupture

Which specialist treats osteoarthritis of the shoulder?

The physicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis are specialists in Rheumatology and Traumatology.