Arthritis in Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort and stiffness in your shoulder joint, it may be due to arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can occur in any joint of the body, including the shoulder.

In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about arthritis in the shoulder. We will begin by understanding what exactly arthritis is and how it affects the shoulder joint. We will then discuss the causes and symptoms of shoulder arthritis before moving on to its diagnosis and treatment options.

So read on to learn more about this debilitating condition and how you can treat it effectively.

Understanding Arthritis in the Shoulder

Arthritis in shoulder

A human shoulder is made up of several joints, tendons, and muscles that work together to provide a wide range of motion. The main joint in the shoulder is called the glenohumeral joint, which is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for the arm to move freely in different directions.

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones in a joint begins to deteriorate. In the case of shoulder arthritis, this deterioration happens in the glenohumeral joint. As the cartilage wears down, it leads to bone-on-bone contact, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

Shoulder arthritis can be caused by wear and tear, injury, or autoimmune disorders. Common symptoms of arthritis in the shoulder include stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion.

Treatment options for shoulder arthritis include medication, physiotherapy, and surgery. Making lifestyle changes such as incorporating exercise and managing weight can help manage symptoms. It is also important to take preventive measures and protect the shoulder joints. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

Different Types of Arthritis Affecting the Shoulder

There are several different types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder joint. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which occurs due to the gradual wear and tear of the cartilage in the shoulder. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in multiple joints including the shoulder.

Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after a shoulder injury, and symptoms may not appear for years. Lastly, septic arthritis is a rare but serious infection that can affect the shoulder joint. Treatment options vary depending on the type and severity of the arthritis, and may include medication, physiotherapy, or surgery.

Causes and Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

The causes of shoulder arthritis include wear and tear, injury, and autoimmune disorders. Wear and tear occurs over time as the cartilage in the shoulder joint gradually breaks down, leading to arthritis. Injury can also contribute to the development of arthritis in the shoulder, especially if it involves trauma to the joint.

Other causes of shoulder arthritis include degenerative joint disease, avascular necrosis, rotator cuff tear, and injuries in the shoulder blade.

The most common type of arthritis is shoulder osteoarthritis, which causes severe joint pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Persistent pain in the shoulder joint, loss of cartilage, loss of motion, along with stiffness that hampers mobility and limits lifting ability, are common signs of shoulder arthritis.

Additionally, grinding, clicking, or popping sounds in the shoulder socket joint may indicate the presence of this condition. Shoulder arthritis can be caused by injury, wear and tear, or autoimmune disorders.

How is Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosed?

Shoulder arthritis is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, imaging tests, and medical history. X-rays can reveal signs of arthritis like bone spurs or loss of joint space, while MRI or CT scans provide more detailed images. Joint aspiration may also be performed during your physical exam to analyse synovial fluid in the shoulder joint.

Comprehensive Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis

Physiotherapy in London

Comprehensive treatment options for shoulder arthritis encompass a range of approaches. Non-surgical treatments, like anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy, can help manage symptoms such as stiffness and pain.

In some cases, surgery may be recommended, including joint replacement surgery or arthroscopy. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, can provide relief.

Non-Surgical Approaches to Manage Shoulder Arthritis

Physiotherapy improves muscle strength and flexibility, reducing shoulder pain and stiffness. Supplements and pain medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics, help manage arthritis symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe ibuprofen for pain relief.

Hot/cold therapy provides relief from pain and inflammation. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and reducing repetitive movements also help manage arthritis. Injection therapy, including corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid, offers temporary pain relief.

Non-surgical approaches can be effective in managing shoulder arthritis without the need for invasive procedures or surgery.

When is Surgery Recommended for Shoulder Arthritis?

Surgery is recommended for shoulder arthritis when other treatments have failed to provide relief. If pain and stiffness in the shoulder significantly affect daily activities, surgery may be necessary.

The types of surgery include joint replacement, hemiarthroplasty, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, total shoulder replacement surgery, and resurfacing. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if surgery is the appropriate option based on individual circumstances.

Physiotherapy for Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis treatment

Physiotherapy is a key component in managing shoulder arthritis. It focuses on improving muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the affected joint. A qualified physiotherapist will design a personalized exercise program to target specific areas of weakness and tightness.

These exercises may include gentle stretches to increase flexibility, strengthening exercises to support the joint, and range of motion exercises to improve mobility. The physiotherapist may also use manual therapy techniques such as massage or joint mobilization to alleviate pain and reduce stiffness.

Additionally, they may recommend modalities like heat or cold therapy to further relieve discomfort and promote healing. Physiotherapy is a non-invasive and holistic approach that aims to restore function and improve quality of life for individuals with shoulder arthritis.

One Body LDN offers physiotherapy in London for arthritis in shoulder. At One Body LDN, we understand the challenges that come with shoulder arthritis. Our team of skilled physiotherapists specializes in providing comprehensive care for individuals dealing with this condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common causes of arthritis in the shoulder?

The common causes of arthritis in the shoulder include wear-and-tear or degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis from previous injuries, and factors like genetics and age.

What are the symptoms of arthritis in the shoulder?

Symptoms of arthritis in the shoulder include pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, difficulty moving the arm, swelling, tenderness, and a grinding or cracking sensation in the collarbone (clavicle), back of the shoulder, or upper arm bone (humerus). If you experience these symptoms, consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

Where can I find physiotherapy near me?

To find physiotherapy near you, start by searching online or using an online directory for local clinics. Ask your doctor, friends, or family members for recommendations. Check with your insurance provider for a list of covered physiotherapists in your area.

Where can I find sports massage near me?

To find sports massage near you, start by searching on Google or Yelp. You can also check with your local gym or sports club for recommendations. Look for licensed massage therapists who specialise in sports massage, and don’t forget to read reviews and compare prices before booking an appointment. One Body LDN offers sports massage in London. They have a team of skilled and experienced massage therapists who specialise in addressing the unique needs of athletes and individuals involved in sports activities.


In conclusion, understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for shoulder arthritis is crucial for effectively managing this condition. While there are different types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder, early recognition of the signs and prompt diagnosis play a significant role in determining the appropriate treatment approach.

Non-surgical methods such as lifestyle changes, physiotherapy, and medications can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of shoulder arthritis. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to alleviate pain and restore joint function.

If you are searching “private physiotherapist near me” / “Sports massage near me” / “Deep tissue massage near me” / “pain treatment near me”, have private health insurance physiotherapy cover and are looking for the best private healthcare in London – One Body LDN is your answer.

We are approved by ALL major private health insurance physiotherapy companies:

Axa PPP | Axa PPP International | Bupa Physiotherapist | Bupa International | Vitality (formerly Pru Health) | Vitality Health International | Nuffield Health | Aviva | Cigna | Cigna International | WPA | Aetna | Aetna International | Allianz | Allianz Worldwide Care | Allianz International | Axa Private Health Insurance | Healix | Healix Global | Health Shield | Simplyhealth | Paycare | BHSF | The PHC | Saga | The Exeter | Freedom Healthcare | Axa Corporate Health Insurance

Our approved physiotherapists are ready to take care of you!

Contact us today to learn more!


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