Shoulder Arthritis Specialist

Are you experiencing mild to severe shoulder pain that feels worse after activity or exercise? If so, you may have shoulder arthritis. Arthritis of the shoulder is typically found in middle-aged adults and the older population and is caused by the natural aging process. Shoulder arthritis specialist, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan and New York City, NY who are experiencing the symptoms of shoudler arthritis. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

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What is shoulder arthritis?

Although the shoulder is comprised of four joints, the main joint is the glenohumeral joint . The glenohumeral joint describes the articulation of the humeral head (ball) and glenoid (socket). The ends of these bones are lined with protective connective tissue (cartilage), which allow the joint to move smoothly. The other joints of the shoulder include the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, the the sternoclavicular joint (SC) and the scapulothoracic joint. The SC joint is where the clavicle (collarbone) and sternum meet, and the AC joint is where the clavicle and scapula (shoulder blade) meet on top of the shoulder. When cartilage is damaged, arthritis results, which leads to bone-on-bone rubbing. This painful friction can limit mobility, range of motion, and cause pain. Shoulder arthritis can occur in any of these joints; glenohumeral joint arthritis is a serious clinical issue. If the arthritis causes extensive damage, total shoulder replacement, or total shoulder arthroplasty, may be recommended. Dr. Riley J. Williams, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs has extensive experience in treating shoulder arthritis and shoulder related injuries.

What are the symptoms of shoulder arthritis?

Arthritis in the shoulder typically occurs over time and slowly wears down the cartilage within the joint(s). Cartilage softens, cracks, flakes, and erodes over time. Cartilage loss results in a bone-on-bone situation.

This can cause:

  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness & motion loss
  • Redness of the skin at the site of irritation
  • Crepitus (cracking noises)

How is shoulder arthritis diagnosed?

The most common form of arthritis of the shoulder is osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis). Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause an inflammatory response in the shoulder. Avascular necrosis (bone death) is a condition that is caused by a disruption of blood supply, leading to arthritis. Shoulder dislocations from trauma (fall, car accident or sports accident) can also lead to an arthritic condition. Chronic tearing of the rotator cuff can lead to shoulder arthritis (rotator cuff arthropathy). Dr. Williams will discuss your medical history and shoulder injury and perform a physical exam. The severity of the shoulder arthritis can be determined with imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans or MRIs.

How is shoulder arthritis treated?

Non-surgical treatment:

Dr. Williams will help determine what conservative treatment methods will be beneficial to your condition. Daily range of motion exercises and stretching can help keep the shoulder joint mobile. An individual may need to modify his or her lifestyle, and decrease or cease activities that aggravate shoulder pain. Over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help treat arthritis flare-ups as well as help decrease inflammation. Icing the injured shoulder can also help provide relief from pain and inflammation. Shoulder injections (corticosteroids, platelet rich plasma) can also help manage arthritic shoulder pain.

Surgical treatment:

If arthritis related shoulder pain and loss of mobility progress and non-surgical methods are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. There are several different types of surgery that can be performed depending on the severity of the arthritis. Arthroscopic shoulder debridement is a type of procedure that essentially cleans out the joint and provides temporizing provide relief. Occasionally, bone spurs can form in the shoulder and surgery to shave down the excess bone can help improve pain and restore mobility. AC joint arthritis can be treated arthroscopically by partially resecting the most distal portion of the clavicle to create room between the bones. In general, arthroscopic management strategies can delay the need for total shoulder replacement. In the most severe cases an individuals suffering glenohumeral joint arthritis may need total shoulder replacement surgery . During total shoulder replacement, the ball and socket portions of the shoulder joint are resurfaced with metal and plastic prostheses. As a leading orthopedic shoulder specialist in New York, Dr. Williams will discuss the severity of the injury and which surgical treatment options are best for improving shoulder pain and mobility.

For more information on shoulder arthritis and the treatment options available, please contact the office of Riley J. Williams, MD, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs.