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Shoulder Arthritis

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

  • Shoulder arthritis is caused by wear and tear of the articular cartilage, the white tissue lining the ends of the bone. This is known as degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis. Approximately 20% of the adult population is affected by shoulder arthritis.
  • Two joints within the shoulder can be affected by arthritis:
    • The acromioclavicular (AC) joint, located where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the acromion (roof of the shoulder joint).
    • The glenohumeral joint, located where the ball of the humerus (arm bone) meets the glenoid (socket).

How do you know if you have Shoulder Arthritis?

  • Shoulder arthritis can cause symptoms of joint pain: stiffness and weakness.
  • During the clinical examination, the physician localizes the source of pain using a number of tests such as X-rays and MRI to confirm the diagnosis.


  • Traditional Conservative Treatment - The goal of treatment is to control the pain using medications and a cortisone injection.
  • Viscosupplementation injections (Hyaluronic Acid)
    • These injections for Shoulder Arthritis can help with the pain. Commonly used to treat knee pain, viscosupplementation injections were approved for the treatment of the ankle and should in Europe in 2007. Recently in January of 2024, CMS has approved the use of viscosupplementation injections for the treatment of shoulder impingement and glenohumeral arthritis. Learn more about viscosupplementation here.

  • Surgery
    • When all conservative treatments fail, glenohumeral arthritis can be treated surgically with a shoulder replacement surgery. To learn how you can delay a shoulder replacement, contact our office to schedule your consultation.