Shoulder Arthritis

What Is Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis can occur from wear and tear (osteoarthritis) or may follow an injury of the joint (post-traumatic arthritis). If both shoulders are affected, the cause may be due to rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks joint tissue. Arthritis is a loss of cartilage (cushioning material) between the bones, resulting in bone-on-bone contact. Loss of this cartilage results in pain, and range of motion is sometimes limited.


  • Deep, achy shoulder pain at the following locations:
    • Top of the shoulder (acromioclavicular [AC] joint)
    • Back of shoulder (glenohumeral joint)
    • Throughout shoulder (usually when both AC and glenohumeral joints are affected)
  • Grinding, clicking, or snapping in shoulder joint
  • Limited range of motion (difficulty brushing hair or putting on a shirt)
  • Pain when moving the shoulder
  • Pain at night in the affected shoulder


There are nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for shoulder arthritis. Both treatment types are performed by our shoulder specialists at Orthopaedic Specialists. 

Nonsurgical Treatments

Mild cases of shoulder arthritis may be treated by avoiding aggravating activities as well as with anti-inflammatories, therapy, moist heat, icing, and/or corticosteroid injections. While nonsurgical treatment can relieve mild cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary if it continues to worsen.

Surgical Treatments

Total Shoulder Replacement

In traditional total shoulder replacement surgery, the worn-down and damaged tissues and bone are removed. Our experienced surgeons can then replace these areas with prostheses designed to perform the same function as your original shoulder parts. These artificial devices are commonly made from metal (such as titanium) and medical-grade plastic components designed for durability.

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Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery: A Modern Alternative to Traditional Shoulder Replacement

Dr. Tuvi Mendel performs reverse total shoulder replacement surgery for patients with a combination of severe shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff tears. This surgical technique is a technologically advanced alternative to the more traditional, most common procedure for shoulder arthritis, total shoulder joint replacement. During surgery, the ball-and-socket joint is replaced in reverse of your original shoulder joint. In other words, the “ball” area of your upper arm bone is replaced with a cup, and the old “socket” area is replaced with a ball. This design improves shoulder function for patients who no longer have a functional rotator cuff.

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