Shoulder Arthritis

Arthritis is a generic term that refers to a variety of conditions that cause joint inflammation and wearing of joint surfaces. The end result of arthritis is joint pain and joint stiffness resulting in loss of function.

The Shoulder Joint is a complicated mechanism. “Shoulder Joint” is an umbrella term for the 4 components that contribute to normal shoulder comfort and function. The components are:

  • Gleno-Humeral Joint
  • Acromio-Clavicular Joint
  • Sterno-Clavicular Joint
  • Scapulo-Thoracic “Joint”

The Gleno-Humeral joint is where the humerus articulates with the scapula. This ball and socket joint is commonly referred to as “The Shoulder Joint”. The Acromio-Clavicular joint, also called the AC Joint is a connection between the outer end of the clavicle and the acromion process of the scapula. It helps to support the scapula on the chest wall. Additional support is provided by the Sterno-Clavicular or SC Joint. It provides a stable connection between the inner end of the clavicle and the sternum and rib cage. The Scapulo-Thoracic “joint” is not a joint as such. It refers to the articulation between the under- side of the scapula and the chest wall. Muscles control the movement of the scapula on the chest to contribute to shoulder stability and function.

The components of the shoulder most often subject to arthritis are the Gleno-Humeral or “Shoulder Joint” and the AC Joint:

  • Shoulder Joint Arthritis Shoulder Joint Arthritis

    The Gleno-Humeral or “Shoulder Joint” is the component of the shoulder mechanism that most often wears. The results in shoulder pain stiffness and dysfunction. The symptoms, especially pain, can be disabling and may require consideration of surgery.

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  • AC Joint Arthritis AC Joint Arthritis

    The Acromio-Clavicular or AC Joint may also wear. Although there is not a lot of movement that occurs in the AC Joint, it can be subject to mechanical loads that cause the joint surfaces to wear thus resulting in pain. Pain symptoms may be sufficient to warrant a surgical treatment.

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