Shoulder Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis

woman suffering from shoulder arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is one of the most common types or degenerative joint disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can occur commonly in the shoulder after trauma.

The smooth cartilage covers the bone ends and wears away due to osteoarthritis, which causes rough ends of bone rubbing against bone. It leads to irregular motion in the joint as well as to the osteophytes development which are how the bone tries to heal itself. Erratic movement and bone inflammation may lead to pain and movement loss in the shoulder.

In addition, osteoarthritis may affect another two articulations within the shoulder. The glenohumeral joint or a ball and socket joint is the primary joint that provides the majority of the shoulder movement, where the humerus or arm bone meets the scapula or shoulder blade. The other joint in the shoulder is the acromioclavicular joint, the joint that joins the collarbone with the scapula.

Arthritis Causes

The root cause of arthritis development is usually a previous injury or tear and wear of the joint. Injuries such as a rotator cuff tear, dislocation of the shoulders or labral damage are common for the shoulder and can lead to the development of arthritis. Examples of wear and tear may include an overhead activity like swimming, throwing, or even occupation that often requires overhead reaching; think painter's shoulder. Although osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint arthritis, it can also cause degenerative changes within a joint under other arthritis conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms

Pain is the most common symptom of shoulder arthritis. Arthritis pain is usually caused by movement, especially overhead reaching. For managing the pain, you can consult our medical clinic in OKC. Naturally, also overhead movement pain can result from other types of shoulder injury like shoulder impingement and shoulder tendonitis.

A loss of the normal range of motion is another typical symptom. The range of movements can feel like a joint ratchet when it passes through its motion with arthritic shoulders. Due to limited movement with overhead activity and shoulder pain, many functional activities can be challenging. Activities such as getting a jacket on or off can be painful, washing or brushing your hair and sleeping on your side can be common complaints.


Shoulder arthritis is usually diagnosed by doctors in our medical clinic in OKC with a physical and x-ray examination. Things to look for are:

  • Pain with motion

  • Shoulder fatigue

  • Sensitive to touch

shoulder treatment

X-ray scans may diagnose:

  • Joint space loses

  • Bone Cysts

  • The loss of cartilage on the joint edges

  • Joint arthritis is also likely to develop rotating cuff problems, and an MRI may be required.


  • Change of activities

  • Exercises that can be led by physical therapists

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen

  • Pain relieving injections

  • Newer treatment options such as PRP and stem cell transplants.

For treating your shoulder arthritis, visit Longevity Regenerative Institute. Our medical clinic in OKC will welcome you and help you get back to living.

**Disclaimer: This content should not be considered medical advice and does not imply a doctor-patient relationship.