Thank you for visiting the Sydney Shoulder Clinic. The following information on shoulder osteoarthritis will give you an overview of the condition and treatment options that we have to assist with your care. Remember that not all shoulder pain is from osteoarthritis. A detailed assessment with one of our Shoulder Specialists will diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain, which could be shoulder arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions.
Learn more about our specialist shoulder surgeons.
Tim Neville is a physiotherapist with a special interest in treating shoulder conditions, including shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff issues. He has nearly 40 years of experience and has made himself available to you to provide obligation-free telephone advice if you call him on 9744 2201. This conversation will help you to work out if our clinic is appropriate for you and if so, who you should see as a starting point. Tim will guide you through your journey back to optimal health.
How can we help?
At the Sydney Shoulder Clinic, we treat arthritis of the shoulder, ranging from very mild through to severe. The treatment required will depend on how your quality of life is being affected, your examination, and imaging findings. This may involve managing shoulder arthritis symptoms or addressing rotator cuff tears.
As with any condition, there are levels of lifestyle effect, and it will affect different people in different ways.
A few questions for you.
Can you sleep through the night without shoulder pain waking you?
Can you get dressed without difficulty?
Is the general quality of your day affected by shoulder pain?
Is there a particular part of your recreation starting to be limited by pain?
At the clinic, we tailor the approach to restore you back to your own best level of function.
Our aim is to make you comfortably more active.
Following a comprehensive physiotherapy, medical, or orthopaedic shoulder review, treatment options may include:
- Lifestyle review/modification. Review of your activities of daily living such as dressing and food preparation, and looking at the pain response from these activities. This may also include your occupation as well as recreational activities. Sometimes the pain response from these activities is immediate and sometimes it is delayed.
- Anti-inflammatory options. Medication. Injections.
- Ice packs to the shoulder on an as-required basis for pain relief.
- Physiotherapy. If the shoulder arthritis is mild, then a gentle range of motion and strengthening program may assist. It cannot cure the arthritis but it may help to maintain some use. It is critical that this exercise strategy be comfortable. The more moderate to severe forms of arthritis may be aggravated by exercise-based therapy.
- If your life is impacted enough by the pain and loss of motion, then surgery, such as shoulder replacement surgery, may be offered.
- Joint replacement shoulder surgery.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of degenerative joint disease. Our big joints, including the shoulder joint, are lined with a friction-free coating called articular cartilage (joint lining cartilage). This cartilage surface covers the ends of the bones, like the upper arm bone and shoulder blade, and when the cartilage surface is normal, both sides of the joint move freely and comfortably on each other.
What happens to the Shoulder joint when it becomes arthritic?
In an arthritic shoulder, the cartilage lining can start to wear or become thinner, and in its severe forms, it can expose the bone underneath, such as the arm bone. This is Osteoarthritis. It is a progressive disease.
What effects does it have?
Arthritis may cause shoulder pain, loss of movement, and changes to the quality of your life. Practically it may cause pain and significant changes to the quality of your everyday life. The speed and severity with which it progresses will vary from person to person. It is also a cyclical disease, so you may have some good days and some bad days. As with any condition, there are levels of lifestyle effect, and it will affect different people in different ways.
There are two joints in the shoulder. The small joint at the top of the shoulder (the AC joint) is far less of a problem than the big joint below it (the glenohumeral joint). While both of these joints can cause problems, it is mainly the big joint (glenohumeral joint), that will cause people to seek treatment. The glenohumeral joint is where the upper arm bone meets the shoulder blade in the shoulder socket. This joint is surrounded by rotator cuff tendons, which can also be affected by shoulder arthritis or suffer from rotator cuff tears.
If you need any further information, please contact Tim Neville, Physiotherapist, on 9744 2201. He will provide free advice without any obligation on your part to attend the clinic. It will help you to work out if our clinic is appropriate for you and if so, who you should see as a starting point.
Shoulder Specialist consultation is available at Randwick, Hurstville, Penrith, and Concord.