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Shoulder Arthritis Treatment Options

What are the treatments for shoulder arthritis?

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. Some of the most common treatments include:

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical management 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 can help relieve pain and stiffness.
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Dietary supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may help to relieve pain


  • Shoulder arthroscopy – Shoulder arthroscopy is the only recommended when nonsurgical management has not helped relieve pain, and only when there is mild arthritis. It is a minimally invasive procedure to inspect the joint and repair damage. It is used to treat cartilage damage, arthritis, and loose bodies in the joint.
  • Shoulder arthroplasty – Shoulder arthroplasty is shoulder replacement surgery. It is an established treatment for patients with end-stage arthritis who have not improved with nonsurgical 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.

When you or a loved one is experiencing shoulder pain and stiffness that interferes with your quality of life, contact Dr. Jonathan Godin at Vail Orthopedic Surgery in Vail, Colorado to discuss all your treatment options for shoulder arthritis. His specialized training at the renowned Steadman Clinic provided him with advanced skills and techniques to address your needs.

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