Shoulder Arthritis (Gleno-Humeral Osteoarthritis) - Fact Sheet

What is it?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the general wear and tear of the articular cartilage lining of a joint. OA can present in the gleno-humeral joint (the shoulder), however, it is less common than the knees and hips, which are weight-bearing joints. History of shoulder injuries, shoulder surgeries (such as arthroscopes) can lead to shoulder OA, as well as general wear and tear.

AC joint injury

Signs and symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis?

• Severe shoulder stiffness, particularly overhead, occasionally with “grinding” type sensations accompanying movement.
• Secondary muscular referred pain can be present down the side or front of the shoulder, normally about halfway to the elbow.
• Pain is generally an ache type pain, that is more intermittent than constant.
• Pain is generally worse in the morning, and can be worse in cold weather
• An X-ray is generally the best imaging to find Osteoarthritic changes in the shoulder joint.


Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder mobility exercises: movements that help push the shoulder into more range, especially overhead, can help reduce stiffness and improve range of motion of the arthritic shoulder.

Strengthening exercises: Exercises targeting the muscles of the shoulder blades and rotator cuff can help improve the efficiency of movement of the shoulder, and can help improve pain and function.

Surgery: An operation called a reverse shoulder replacement can help restore pain free range of motion, depending on the severity of the shoulder OA.

Rehab/Prehab: if you decide you want to undertake a shoulder replacement for your OA, strength-based exercises both pre and post-surgery can make a massive difference in your recovery.

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