Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder Arthritis

Arthritis is a common injury to joints. It causes a decreased space in the joint due to general wear and tear. This condition is often associated with aging, wherein the joint loses its lubrication layer (the cartilage). When the joint loses this layer of cartilage, it can experience decreased shoulder mobility and pain, especially with shoulder movement.

There are various reasons why arthritis may develop, such as aging, overhead sports, repetitive shoulder activities, and past trauma to the shoulder. Arthritis is typically treated conservatively at first with physical therapy, activity modifications, and cortisone injections. Shoulder arthritis can also be repaired surgically with a total shoulder replacement or a reverse shoulder replacement.


  • Pain on the front, side, or back of the shoulder
  • Radiating symptoms into the back of the shoulder
    or down to the wrist
  • Stiffness in the joint, especially first thing in the morning
  • Grinding, clicking, or creaking with shoulder movements
  • Pain with exercise or lifting heavy objects


Arthritis is typically diagnosed with imaging of the joint to identify the spacing (cartilage) left in the joint.
This joint degeneration can vary in symptoms and timeline needed for surgery.


Shoulder arthritis can be repaired surgically with a total shoulder arthroplasty (shoulder replacement) or a reverse shoulder replacement. A shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure that involves replacing parts of an arthritic joint with a prosthesis or artificial parts. A reverse total shoulder arthroplasty switches the replaced parts; the ball is replaced with a cup, and the cup is replaced with a ball.