Joel Hurt, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Shoulder arthritis affects up to 33% of adults over the age of 60. Although not as common as arthritis in the hips and knees, shoulder arthritis is every bit as painful and limiting. Austin Orthopedic Institute offers a range of shoulder arthritis treatment options, from conservative care like injections to joint replacement.
Shoulder arthritis refers to any type of arthritis in your shoulder joint. The most common form of shoulder arthritis is osteoarthritis, with other, less-common types including rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. All types of shoulder arthritis can cause symptoms that include:
If you experience symptoms that indicate shoulder arthritis, schedule a visit with us as soon as possible. Your provider will evaluate your symptoms, diagnose your arthritis, and create a personalized treatment plan for your unique injury.
Austin Orthopedic Institute uses a range of approaches when treating shoulder arthritis. Usually, your provider will begin with conservative (non-surgical) treatments – if the problem persists, surgery could be the right option.
These medications work to diminish inflammation and relieve pain around the shoulder joint. There are a wide variety of these medications, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Steroid injections can significantly reduce the pain of mild to moderate arthritis.
Joint injections take just 3-5 days to start working. Though they’re only a temporary solution, they last much longer than oral medication, often 6 months or longer. They also tend to have a more profound reduction in symptoms. If you’re not ready for a shoulder replacement, this is often a good solution to improve milder symptoms or simply buy time.
With arthritis, it’s common to have serious shoulder pain and stiffness. You probably avoid moving too much due to the pain. Unfortunately, lack of joint movement typically only worsens symptoms.
Physical therapy helps you learn safe and effective ways to move your shoulder without causing pain or worsening the joint damage. It usually can improve overall function as well.
Arthroscopic surgery is a simple procedure in which your provider makes a small surgical incision and uses an arthroscope to see the inside of your shoulder joint through a tiny, built-in camera. Athroscopically removing spurs, smoothing cartilage, and releasing tight capsular tissues can significantly improve pain and function in some patients. In many cases patients can delay larger surgery like joint replacement.
During a shoulder joint replacement, some or all of the damaged joint is removed, and highly engineered plastic and metal components are placed in those areas. This is like putting new tires on your car, leading to dramatic improvement in shoulder function while reducing pain. Partial, total, and reverse shoulder replacement are the three types of shoulder replacement and all are offered at AOI.
A combination of treatments, such as medication and physical therapy or surgery and physical therapy, is frequently a good choice for shoulder arthritis.
However, Austin Orthopedic Institute recognizes that every patient is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your provider will discuss your treatment options with you and explain them in detail.