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Osteoarthritis, also known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is a condition that destroys the smooth outer covering (articular cartilage) of bone. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. During movement, the bones of the joint rub against each other, causing pain www.orthoinfo.org
Pain and limited motion of the shoulder are common symptoms of arthritis of the shoulder joint. The shoulder pain progressively worsens and is aggravated by activity.
This image is a series of x-rays that shows the joint space where the head (or ball) of the humerus fits into the scapula (shoulder blade) and is called the glenohumeral joint. The middle x-ray shows advanced osteoarthritis and loss of the joint space. The far right x-ray is the same joint after total joint replacement surgery. Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a ‘prosthesis’. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint, and restore pain-free movement.
If the glenohumeral shoulder joint is affected, the pain is centered in the back of the shoulder and may intensify with changes in the weather. Patients complain of an ache deep in the joint. Patients also describe a limited range of motion at the shoulder joint. It may become more difficult to lift your arm to comb your hair or reach up to a shelf. You may also hear a grinding, clicking, or snapping sound (crepitus) as you move your shoulder.
Speak with your orthopedic physician about what treatment plan is best for you.