CONDITION - Shoulder Arthritis (DJD)

When orthopedic surgeons talk about arthritis of the shoulder, they typically mean arthritis of the large glenohumeral (ball and socket) joint. There is a second joint in the shoulder (the acromioclavicular joint or AC joint, which is frequently is injured in "shoulder separations"). While the AC joint is arthritic in many people, arthritis in the glenohumeral joint, which we will discuss here, is more rare.

There are three major types of shoulder arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis
    This is a gradual wearing down of the joint cartilage that happens with age and/or overuse.

  • Post-traumatic arthritis
    This happens after significant trauma (like a car accident) or after repeated trauma (like recurrent shoulder dislocations).

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    This is a disease where the body attacks its own cartilage and destroys it.

All of these arthritic process have one thing in common: the cartilage of the shoulder joint gets destroyed. When this happens, you lose the normal smooth rubbing together of the two parts of the joint. Instead these surfaces become like sandpaper.

What are the symptoms of arthritis? Click Next below to learn more:


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