Understanding shoulder osteoarthritis
Shoulder osteoarthritis, also called “omarthrosis” can be located in various areas of the joint. Except if there is fluid effusion, the joints affected by osteoarthritis cannot usually be seen from the outside. The pain felt by the patient is identified according to the time at which it is felt (usually following a specific movement which causes acute pain). Patients then feel relief when no longer performing the incriminated movement, and when they manage to rest their joint or in the morning.
As for elbow osteoarthritis, shoulders osteoarthritis is often caused by repetitive movements which place strain on the upper area and in particular the shoulders. It is the microtraumas to the shoulder joint cartilage that cause the pain.
Shoulder osteoarthritis is highly debilitating for patients since it affects the function of the entire arm. It is more common among women and often both shoulders are affected (sometimes at different degrees).
Diagnosing and treating shoulder osteoarthritis
In the virtual patient section, see the full information for better understanding and diagnosing shoulder osteoarthritis. How to treat shoulder osteoarthritis and its symptoms?
How to treat shoulders osteoarthritis through corticosteroid injections. Find out more about the treatment objectives, the injection procedure, and the precautions to be taken by osteoarthritis patients.
How to treat shoulder osteoarthritis with a joint prosthesis? Information on surgery and on post-operative follow-up.
Strengthen muscles to stabilise joints and minimise deformation, reduce pain through massage, application of heat, etc., or even maintain or partially recover range of movement in joints affected by osteoarthritis. This section addresses the benefits of joint re-education and how they help relieve a patient’s pain.
To preserve good shoulder mobility, there are several exercises you can do at home. Done daily, these exercises, described in detail in our sheets, can be used to maintain joint flexibility.
If you have already had osteoarthritis for a while, here are some exercises you can do regularly. Work at your own pace, slowly and regularly and remember to breathe between the exercises.
Living with shoulder osteoarthritis: tips for daily living
As for all joints that can be affected by osteoarthritis, it is important to be diagnosed as early as possible to be able to adapt the treatment. The physical examination may reveal a (painful) limitation in shoulder mobility, often combined with joint cracking.
The 1st step involves regular corticosteroid injections into the shoulder, along with analgesic and anti-inflammatory treatment. Joint re-education is necessary at the same time. It should take place regularly with a physiotherapist.
According to the stage of progression of the shoulder osteoarthritis, revealed by the physical examination, surgery may be required. Hospitalisation lasts 2 days on average and the arm operated on must be immobilised in a sling for 3 weeks to one month.