Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the shoulder starts to wear away on its surface and eventually in its deeper layers, causing pain, stiffness, and sometimes, a grinding sensation in the shoulder.
If you have shoulder arthritis, your best course of action is to see a shoulder doctor, who can help you effectively manage your condition using either a nonsurgical or surgical treatment approach or a combination thereof, depending on its severity.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis
If you have mild or moderate shoulder arthritis, a shoulder doctor would usually recommend conservative treatment methods, such as the following:
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are typically the first-line treatment for pain and inflammation associated with mild to moderate cases of shoulder arthritis. A shoulder doctor may prescribe NSAIDs for short-term use.
Your shoulder doctor may also recommend physical therapy, which incorporates exercises that can help you improve your joint flexibility, function, and range of motion.
Corticosteroid injections can dramatically reduce the inflammation and pain in people with shoulder arthritis for up to several months.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
In PRP therapy, a shoulder doctor would draw your own blood, process it in a centrifuge, and inject it into your shoulder.
PRP therapy has shown to help preserve healthy cartilage, reduce inflammation, and slow down the progression of shoulder arthritis.
Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis
When nonsurgical treatment options fail to provide you with satisfactory relief, a shoulder doctor may recommend the following surgical interventions:
Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement
Shoulder debridement entails the removal of any loose debris and bone spurs around the shoulder. Damaged tissue and bone spurs can accelerate the erosion of the cartilage in the shoulder. Shoulder debridement can provide pain relief and improve the shoulder’s range of motion and strength.
The procedure can be done via arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique in which the doctor would create small incisions to view the inside of your shoulder joint.
A shoulder doctor may also recommend joint replacement, in which the damaged parts of your shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis. Depending on the extent of the damage, a shoulder doctor may recommend any of the following options:
- Hemiarthroplasty- only the head of the humerus (the long bone in your upper arm) is replaced with a prosthetic joint
- Total shoulder joint replacement- both the head of the humerus and the glenoid (the shallow socket on your shoulder blade) are replaced
- Reverse total shoulder joint replacement- the socket and metal ball have an opposite placement compared to a conventional total shoulder replacement
Shoulder replacement surgery can also be done arthroscopically
Board-Certified Shoulder Doctor in Delray Beach, FL
Don’t let shoulder arthritis get the best of you. See us at South Palm Orthopedics for an evaluation, and let us help you, just as we have helped countless patients in our community for nearly three decades now.
Dr. Steve Meadows, our board-certified orthopedic shoulder doctor, offers exceptional care to everyone in the Delray Beach area and its surrounding communities. While also an expert in shoulder surgery, Dr. Meadows will make sure to exhaust conservative methods before suggesting that you take that route. We will be with you through your individual path of care—all the way through your recovery!
To schedule a visit with Dr. Meadows, call our office at 561-496-6622 or request an appointment online now.