What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term that is defined as inflammation of the joint and used to describe over 100 different conditions that can affect the human body. Arthritis affects millions of Americans each year with symptoms including pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of motion in affected joints.
There are three types of arthritis that generally affect the shoulder; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, results in the wearing out of the cartilage that protects the bones in the joints. Once cartilage is damaged or destroyed, cartilage cannot repair or replace itself like many other body tissues. Shoulder cartilage can be compared to the tread of an automobile tire, very durable but susceptible to wear over time. As we age, the tread surface slowly erodes until the underlying bone is exposed. This exposed bone can be painful when the joint moves and bears weight.
Often the cause of arthritis is unknown, but may develop as a result of injury to the joint, excess body weight, or years of wear and tear on the joint cartilage. There is no known cure. The best that doctors can do for patients is to restore motion and reduce pain.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis of the shoulder
- Severe shoulder pain that limits everyday activity
- Shoulder pain at night causing sleeplessness
- Chronic swelling of the shoulder with morning stiffness
- Limited range of motion
- Feeling of grinding or locking of shoulder
- Decreased activity
- Impaired lifestyle
- Grinding pain during movement
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Shoulder
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a systemic inflammatory condition of the joint lining, or synovium where the body’s immunological system attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation of the joint lining and subsequent joint damage. When rheumatoid arthritis is present, the cartilage is not being provided with enough lubrication and nourishment. This leads to loss of motion and pain in the shoulder.
Post traumatic Arthritis of the Shoulder
Post traumatic Arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation of the shoulder or after a rotator cuff tear.
Links to Orthopedic Shoulder Education
Links are provided from the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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