What is shoulder arthritis?
Arthritis in the shoulder occurs when there is thinning or loss of the articular cartilage that covers the bones, and ultimately painful bone-on-bone contact develops. Articular cartilage is the smooth, soft tissue that covers the ends of the ball and socket within the shoulder joint. When present, it allows for smooth, frictionless, pain free motion of the joint. Patients who have shoulder arthritis have articular cartilage that has become thin, worn or is damaged. This causes pain, stiffness, and in some patients, a locking or catching sensation. Dr. Leslie Vidal, orthopedic shoulder specialist, helps patients from Vail, Eagle and Summit County, and those in the surrounding Denver area who have shoulder arthritis and can help them get back to a pain free, active lifestyle.
Where in the shoulder does arthritis occur?
Because the shoulder is not a weight bearing joint, it is the third most common joint affected by arthritis; the knee is the most common, followed by the hip. Literally meaning “inflamed joint” arthritis can occur in any joint in the body. In the shoulder, two different joints can be affected by arthritis: the glenohumeral joint and the AC or acromioclavicular joint. The glenohumeral joint is located where the ball of the humerus (arm bone) meets the glenoid (shoulder socket). The AC joint is located where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the acromion (the bony roof of the shoulder, near the arm).
What are the types of arthritis in the shoulder?
Shoulder arthritis is classified into types and can include:
Known as “wear-and-tear” or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth articular cartilage at the ends of the bones wears away. The cartilage becomes rough or frayed and the protective space between the bones decreases. Eventually, the bones rub against each other which causes pain and inflammation. Patients over the age of 50 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.