What Is Shoulder Osteoarthritis?
Shoulder arthritis is damage to the cartilage inside the shoulder joint. The shoulder has two joints. Shoulder arthritis commonly refers to the bigger ball-and-socket joint named the glenohumeral joint after the bones it connects (glenoid and humerus). The cartilage covers both the ball (the humeral head) and the socket (the glenoid).
When the cartilage in the shoulder begins to break down on the surface and eventually in the deeper layers, it’s called shoulder arthritis. The second joint in the shoulder, the acromioclavicular or AC joint, can also develop arthritis known as AC joint arthritis.
Shoulder Osteoarthritis Overview
The shoulder is considered the most movable joint in the body, but because of its range of motion, it’s also less stable than other joints. To remain stable, the shoulder is supported by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The degenerative process associated with osteoarthritis can affect the shoulder, though it is less commonly affected than other joints.
- Osteoarthritis in the acromioclavicular joint can be painful and can cause problems when you move your shoulder during everyday tasks.
- When osteoarthritis develops in the glenohumeral joint, it is usually the result of a previous injury. The shoulder is a common site of injury.
In order to diagnose osteoarthritis of the shoulder, your healthcare provider will consider your medical history, physical examination, and X-rays.