Shoulder Arthrosis

Arthrosis of the shoulder joint is a chronic disease, which is based on damage to the cartilage tissue, followed by the appearance of bone growths and limited mobility. Most often, elderly people suffer, but hard physical labor and inflammatory processes contribute to the early development of pathology. Without timely treatment, movements in the affected joint are completely blocked.

General information

Cartilage is a smooth layer between the contacting areas of the bones. It ensures their easy sliding relative to each other, guaranteeing free and painless joint work. Excessive stress, inflammation or trauma can trigger a degenerative process that gradually spreads over the entire surface.

As a result, the smoothness of the articular surfaces is disturbed, and the movements begin to cause pain. At the same time, bone growths begin to appear along the edges of the joint, replacing the affected cartilage. As the degenerative process progresses, it involves not only the bones but also the surrounding tissues. The limb is deformed, the muscles spasm, and the ligaments become weak and lose elasticity. Without treatment, the person loses the ability to move the arm.


Depending on the cause of development, there can be primary and secondary arthrosis. The primary form occurs on its own, most often against the background of excessive overload of the joint. The secondary form is provoked by a third-party pathology, for example, trauma, intense inflammation, metabolic disorders, etc. Both forms of the disease are similar in symptoms.

Causes of shoulder arthrosis

Unlike the knee, ankle and hip joints, the shoulder does not experience significant stress when walking, which is why this form of arthrosis occurs much less frequently. Pathology can be caused by:

An important role in the predisposition to arthrosis is played by heredity.


Doctors identify 3 degrees of deforming arthrosis of the shoulder joint, which determine its symptoms and the choice of treatment tactics:

  1. Minimal symptoms: pain occurs only with intense or prolonged exertion and quickly passes after rest, and X-ray reveals subchondral sclerosis of the articular surfaces;
  2. The pain becomes much stronger, a person has to use pain relievers to make them feel better; the radiograph shows a pronounced narrowing of the joint space, extensive areas of cartilage destruction, as well as bone growths (osteophytes);
  3. Constant intense pain, joint mobility is significantly limited, and the picture shows complete destruction of cartilage tissue, deformation of bone structures and a large number of osteophytes.


The main symptoms of shoulder arthrosis include:

The progression of symptoms can take years or even decades, but ultimately arthrosis of the shoulder joint leads to the inability to move the arm and severe pain.


Diagnosis of shoulder arthrosis requires an integrated approach. To accurately determine the diagnosis and determine the extent of the lesion, the doctor uses the following methods:

If the disease is secondary, examinations and consultations of narrow specialists on the underlying pathology are mandatory.

Shoulder arthrosis treatment

Treatment of shoulder arthrosis depends on the degree of the lesion: at stages 1 and 2, the disease can be successfully stopped or delayed by the correct selection of drugs. With extensive destruction, the only way to restore mobility and completely stop pain is a surgical operation – arthroscopy with “cleaning” the joint.

Drug treatment

Medical treatment for shoulder arthrosis is aimed at reducing symptoms and restoring cartilage tissue. For this, the following groups of drugs are used:

The drugs, their dose, frequency of administration and duration of the course are determined only by a doctor! It is important to remember that self-medication can cause accelerated joint degeneration and other side effects.


Physiotherapy techniques and exercises greatly facilitate the course of the disease and enhance the effect of drugs. The following procedures have been proven to have a good effect:

Like drugs, physiotherapy, massage and exercise therapy should be prescribed and carried out under the supervision of a specialist.


The last stage of shoulder arthrosis is accompanied by severe symptoms and requires surgical treatment. Most of the changes that have occurred as a result of degeneration are irreversible, which is why the only way to restore mobility to a person is endoprosthetics. The affected joint is replaced with a modern prosthesis, which fully takes over its functions. This operation is especially effective in young and middle age, as it allows patients to live without pain for years.


Like any joint disease, shoulder arthrosis is easier to prevent than to cure. Orthopedists recommend adhering to the following rules:


If you have shoulder arthrosis of any degree, it is important to monitor nutrition:

The diet should include the required amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Consequences and complications

Even a slight pain and crunch in the shoulder can turn into unpleasant consequences. Without treatment, arthrosis leads to:

Shoulder arthrosis quiz

During the past 4 weeks……

1. How would you describe the worst pain you had from your shoulder?

2. Could you brush/comb your hair with the affected arm?

3. Have you had any trouble dressing yourself because of your shoulder?

4. How would you describe the pain you usually had from your shoulder?

5. Have you had any trouble getting in and out of a car or using public transport because of your shoulder?

6. Could you hang your clothes up in a wardrobe, using the affected arm? (whichever you tend to use)

7. Have you been able to use a knife and fork at the same time?

8. Have you been able to wash and dry yourself under both arms?

9. Could you do the household shopping on your own?

10. How much has pain from your shoulder interfered with your usual work (including housework)?

11. Could you carry a tray containing a plate of food across a room?

12. Have you been troubled by pain from your shoulder in bed at night?

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