Shoulder Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a progressive degradation of the cartilage that can evolve in different ways. Your shoulder can become painful and its ability to move will depend on the condition of the muscles and tendons surrounding it.

Bordeaux-Merignac Sport Clinic. X-ray of shoulder arthritis

The cartilage enables the harmonious sliding of the articular surfaces allowing the mobility of the shoulder. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is a degradation of this cartilage that will cause friction during the movements of the arm and can result in the formation of osteophytes (bone beaks) and the impingement of the joint.

To perform an effective diagnosis, your surgeon needs an X-ray and a CT scan to assess the condition of the bones, and an ultrasound or MRI to assess the condition of the muscles and tendons. Inquire in advance is mandatory in order to perform the most suitable examination.

Below, an animation to better understand shoulder arthritis (in French)

Treatment options

Medical treatment

The pain and inflammation of the joint can be initially controlled by the prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.
Proper physiotherapy will also help to keep a flexible shoulder and reduce the pain
Your doctor or rheumatologist can propose an injection of anti-inflammatories or a viscosupplementation
These medical treatments aim to relieve you momentarily but do not prevent the evolution of the disease.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery involves replacing damaged parts of the joint with prosthetic implants. There are two sorts of shoulder prosthesis.

The Anatomic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Allows replacement of the humeral head only (hemi-arthroplasty) or the 2 surfaces of the humeral head and the glenoid (total shoulder prosthesis). A metal ball is used to replace the humeral head, while a polyethylene cup comes in replacement of the glenoid.

This anatomic prosthesis allows a good restitution of range of motions if the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff are in good condition.

Below, an animation to better understand the Anatomic shoulder prosthesis (in French)

The Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

When there is a significant and irreparable tear of the rotator cuff associated with shoulder osteoarthritis, the implantation of an anatomical prosthesis does not allow recovering the joint mobility.
It is then possible to opt for a reverse shoulder prosthesis, which stabilizes the humerus in front of the glenoid by articulating a humeral cup with a sphere attached to the scapula.

Below, an animation to better understand Reverse shoulder prosthesis (in French)