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Shoulder Arthritis Treatment Options

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms.

What are non-surgical treatment options?

Non-surgical treatment is usually the initial treatment for shoulder osteoarthritis.

It includes:

  • Rest and activity modification.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), can help relieve shoulder pain.
  • Physical therapy to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint.
  • Moist heat or icing applied to the shoulder to help relieve pain and stiffness.
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Dietary supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may help to relieve pain.

What are surgical treatment options?

Shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is only recommended when nonsurgical management has not helped relieve pain, and there is only mild arthritis. It is a minimally invasive procedure to inspect the joint and repair damage.

  • The procedure called arthroscopic debridement is used to smooth frayed cartilage, remove loose pieces of cartilage floating in the joint and to remove bone spurs and smooth bone in the joint to reduce friction.
  • Microfracture is a procedure used to regenerate cartilage. Making small cuts in the bone stimulates bleeding which encourages the formation on new cartilage.

Shoulder arthroplasty

Shoulder arthroplasty is shoulder replacement surgery. It is an established treatment for patients with end-stage arthritis who have not improved with non-surgical management. It is performed to relieve pain and restore function in the shoulder joint.

During shoulder arthroplasty, the damaged portions of the shoulder joint are removed and replaced with artificial components (prosthetics). The type of prosthesis used will depend on the patient’s specific needs and Dr. Godin’s preference. The two most common types of shoulder arthroplasty are anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) and hemiarthroplasty (HSA).

Total shoulder arthroplasty is a procedure in which both the socket (glenoid) and the ball (head of the humerus) are replaced with artificial components. Hemiarthroplasty is partial joint replacement. It is a procedure in which only the ball is replaced with an artificial component. However, most patients will benefit from a total shoulder replacement.

After shoulder arthroplasty, your arm will be placed in a sling to keep it immobilized. Physical therapy will be started soon after surgery in order to help you regain range of motion and strength in the arm. Most patients will be able to return to their normal activities within 3-6 months.

Shoulder arthroplasty is a safe and effective procedure that has been shown to improve pain and function in the majority of patients with severe shoulder arthritis.

Schedule a shoulder consultation

Dr. Jonathan Godin is a renowned board-certified orthopedic surgeon and a leader in sports medicine. He received fellowship training in advanced arthroscopic and reconstructive surgical techniques for the treatment of complex orthopedic and sports related injuries at the distinguished Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado. Contact Dr. Godin at his Vail, Frisco, or Edwards, Colorado office to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.

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