Arthritis of the Shoulder – Treatment Options Available in Lafayette, LA
Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, often affects the two main joints of the shoulder. The glenohumeral joint is situated at the junction of the upper arm bone (humerus) and the glenoid portion of the shoulder blade (scapula). The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the point where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the tip of the shoulder blade (acromion).
While arthritis of the shoulder can develop after an injury, such as a fractured or dislocated shoulder, it is more often associated with general wear and tear that occurs along with the natural aging process. Over time, osteoarthritis can destroy the smooth coating (articular cartilage) that covers the ends of the bones in a joint. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes rough and frayed, reducing the space between the bones. During movement, the bones may begin to rub against each other, causing discomfort.
What are the signs of shoulder osteoarthritis?
The symptoms of degenerative arthritis of the shoulder include:
- Pain – The most common sign of arthritis of the shoulder is pain that progressively worsens and is aggravated by activity. If the glenohumeral joint is affected, the pain may be centered on the back of the shoulder; if the AC joint is affected, the pain may be focused on the front of the shoulder.
- Reduced range of motion – As the condition advances, the range of motion in the shoulder may be reduced, making it more difficult to lift the arm.
- Crepitus – A clicking or grinding sound may occur during shoulder movement.
Because treatment for degenerative arthritis of the shoulder can vary based on which joint is affected, effective symptom relief hinges on an accurate diagnosis. Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon practicing in Lafayette, Louisiana, will typically take a medical history and perform a physical examination to assess the pain, loss of motion, and other symptoms in the shoulder joint. He may also order an X-ray, which can be performed on site at his office.
How is shoulder osteoarthritis treated?
After diagnosing arthritis of the shoulder and determining which joint is affected, Dr. Vizzi may discuss conservative treatment, which can include:
- Activity modifications to avoid overhead arm movements and to rest the shoulder
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to help reduce pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy, which may include range-of-motion exercises to increase shoulder flexibility
- Ice or moist heat applications to enhance comfort as needed
- Corticosteroid injections to alleviate painful inflammation
To address debilitating symptoms that do not respond sufficiently to conservative treatment, Dr. Vizzi may discuss surgical treatment. For instance, severe arthritis of the glenohumeral joint may be treated with a total shoulder replacement.
Dr. Vizzi offers a full range of treatment options – both conservative and surgical – for arthritis of the shoulder. Contact us to schedule an appointment at his office in Lafayette, LA.