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  • Osteoarthritis

Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Shoulder OA)

As I mentioned before at the previous posts about hip and knee OA, osteoarthritis can affect any joints in our body , especially those big joints. Today I am going to talk more about shoulder osteoarthritis. Let us revise again.

What is osteoarthritis?

OA also known as degenerative joint disease — occurs when the cartilage that covers the tops of bones, known as articular cartilage, degenerates or wears down. This causes swelling, pain, and sometimes the development of osteophytes — bone spurs — when the ends of the two bones rub together.

How about shoulder OA?

In shoulder osteoarthritis (OA)– your cartilage and other joint tissues gradually break down. Friction in the joint increases, pain increases and you slowly lose mobility and function. Shoulder OA is not as common as OA of the hip or knee, but it is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 have shoulder OA to some degree.

What are the causes?

Shoulder osteoarthritis can be either primary or secondary.

    • Primary OA has no specific cause, but is related to age, genes and sex. Primary OA is usually seen in people over the age of 50, and women are affected more often than men.
    • Secondary OA has a known cause or influencing factor, such as previous injury, history of shoulder dislocations, infection, or rotator cuff tears. Having certain occupations such as heavy construction – or participating in sports can also put you at higher risk of developing shoulder OA.

What are the signs and symptoms?

    • Progressive, activity-related pain that is deep in the joint and often localized posteriorly.
    • As the disease progresses, night pain becomes more common.
    • For many patients, the pain is present at rest and interferes with sleep.
    • In advanced cases, the stiffness creates significant functional limitations.
    • Crepitus on ROM
    • Joint effusion

What are the treatment options?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease. There is no cure, but there are many ways to ease pain, preserve mobility and stay active. Healthy lifestyle habits and self-care are effective non-drug ways to manage symptoms. Options include 

    • Drug therapy
    • Hot or cold therapy
    • Strength training and flexibility exercises
    • Physical therapy
    • Braces
    •  Massage

What can I expect from a physiotherapist?

Physical therapy provides targeted exercises that help maintain the ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking, bathing, and dressing. Although rest is an important part of the healing process, it is important to keep up with moderate levels of activity to strengthen the muscles surrounding the damaged joint. Stronger muscles provide greater stability for the joint, which in turn helps reduce stress on the joint.

When the nonsurgical treatments don’t work any longer, you may need surgery. Surgical options depend on your age and the degree of arthritis.


For any advice or consultation , do not hesitate to contact us at Rapid Physiocare

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