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Advanced Bone and Joint
W. Anthony Frisella, MD

Shoulder Arthritis

There are two main types of arthritis that can occur within the shoulder.

Acromioclavicular Arthritis (AC Arthritis)

This type of arthritis is very common in patients older than 40 and can be seen even in younger patients who lift weights regularly. The arthritis is not in the shoulder itself but between the end of the collarbone and the shoulder blade. The end of the collarbone rubs against the shoulder blade, causing pain.

This type of arthritis is much more common than true shoulder arthritis (also called glenohumeral arthritis). It can be treated with physical therapy and injections. Rarely, surgery may be necessary to “clean up” the arthritis and create a space for the bones. The good news: this is a very treatable problem.

Shoulder Arthritis (Glenohumeral Arthritis)

This problem is a wear-and-tear condition most common in patients older than 60. The cartilage wears away from the ball and socket of the shoulder, creating friction and pain. There is no cure for this type of arthritis, but medications can be helpful to relieve and control pain.

Cortisone injections can be very effective to relieve pain and inflammation and are the preferred treatment for many patients. An outpatient, arthroscopic “clean-up” operation, or debridement, can be an effective treatment for many patients. Shoulder replacement may be necessary if pain is not bearable with other treatment measures.

For surgical and non-surgical treatment of shoulder arthritis in St. Charles County, call Dr. Frisella at (636) 229-4222 or request an appointment online.