How is arthritis of the shoulder diagnosed?
The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho’s orthopedic shoulder specialists will conduct a thorough patient history and physical examination. They will rotate and move the shoulder, checking for areas of pain or tenderness, and will assess the mobility of the joint. A variety of tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis, including X-rays and an MRI scan. These studies, if obtained, may also be used to help guide treatment of your shoulder arthritis.
What are the treatment options for shoulder arthritis?
The goal in treating shoulder arthritis is to reduce or eliminate the underlying symptoms associated with the condition. This includes alleviating the pain, swelling, and overall stiffness of the shoulder joint. This can be accomplished by both surgical and non-surgical treatments. Patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley will have several treatments options available to them at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho.
Some patients may choose to monitor the side effects and pain of shoulder arthritis for years before seeking treatment. Patients can lessen the severity of shoulder pain and stiffness by:
- Resting the shoulder joint
- Applying ice to the joint
- Using moist heat on the shoulder
- Taking NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medications as prescribed by your doctor
- Receiving a corticosteroid injection in the shoulder
- Performing physical therapy
Shoulder arthritis may require surgery if conservative treatments have failed to alleviate pain symptoms. Surgical treatment options will vary, depending on the patient’s age, level of activity, severity of arthritis and intensity of shoulder symptoms. Some of the surgical options available at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho include:
Arthroscopy of the shoulder – Mild glenohumeral arthritis can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure using small incisions and a small camera placed inside the joint. Special surgical instruments are used to remove the inflamed synovial lining (synovitis) and remove pieces of damaged cartilage by smoothing the shoulder joint. Arthroscopic surgery may also be performed to help treat associated shoulder stiffness from a tight shoulder capsule. While this treatment will not cure the shoulder arthritis and may not prevent further arthritic damage, it can relieve associated pain and symptoms in the short term is certain patients.
Arthroplasty – also called Shoulder Replacement Surgery, is used in severe cases of shoulder arthritis. During this surgery, the arthritic ball of the shoulder is replaced by a metal ball called a prosthesis. The ball is then attached to a metal stem which goes inside the humerus (arm bone) to keep the new ball in a stable position. The arthritic shoulder socket is covered by a smooth plastic socket. The motion of the metal ball on the smooth plastic socket prevents shoulder pain and inflammation that is commonly experienced with bone-on-bone arthritis.
A shoulder arthroplasty may last 10 to 20 years. Therefore, The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho will also consider other joint restoration and joint preservation techniques that may be helpful to alleviate symptoms of an arthritic shoulder.
For additional resources on shoulder arthritis, or to learn more about treatment options for shoulder pain in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley, please contact The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho.