2 November 2018,

shoulder arthritis treatment options

There are several kinds of arthritis that can affect the shoulder joint, each of which has varying causes. Among the most common types of shoulder arthritis are:

  • – Osteoarthritis, a condition which involves gradual wearing and tearing of shoulder cartilage and most often affects individuals ages 50 and older
  • – Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause the lining of one or both shoulder joints to swell
  • – Cuff tear arthropathy, a severe, complex kind of shoulder arthritis that develops from an irreparable rotator cuff tear


Conservative shoulder arthritis treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are generally always recommended to start. However, in the event that these first-line methods fail to alleviate shoulder pain, restore range of motion in the joint and treat any other symptoms a patient is having, an orthopedic specialist may suggest surgical shoulder arthritis treatment options.

As with any shoulder condition, the most appropriate course of treatment will depend on the patient’s specific symptoms as well as their age and activity level. Surgical shoulder arthritis treatment options may include:

  • Total Shoulder Arthroplasty (TSA) – During this procedure, which is also known as total shoulder replacement, the orthopedic surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the shoulder and replaces it with plastic and metal implants. For many patients, TSA is effective at relieving pain and restoring range of motion loss caused by arthritic conditions of the shoulder.
  • Reverse Shoulder Replacement – For those with severe shoulder arthritis such as cuff tear arthropathy, reverse shoulder replacement is typically a better option than TSA. As the name suggests, this surgery involves reversing the positions of the ball and socket in the shoulder joint in order to help improve shoulder mobility and ease pain.
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy – The least invasive of all shoulder arthritis treatment options, shoulder arthroscopy allows an orthopedic surgeon to clearly see what needs to be repaired in a patient’s shoulder joint using a tiny camera attached to a small instrument called an arthroscope. This procedure is often useful in the treatment of several kinds of shoulder arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis of the shoulder. Further, because it’s minimally invasive, shoulder arthroscopy typically comes with a shorter recovery time than open surgery, making it preferable in many cases.


This is far from a comprehensive list of shoulder arthritis treatment options, but hopefully this information will be useful as you explore possible solutions for your shoulder issue.

Discuss Your Shoulder Arthritis Treatment Options with Dr. Soffer

Shoulder pain and discomfort can interfere greatly with your everyday life and keep you from doing what you love. If you’re tired of living with these symptoms, Dr. Stephen Soffer can help. As an experienced orthopedic doctor specializing in both shoulder surgery and non-surgical treatments, Dr. Soffer will use state-of-the-art methods to diagnose the cause of your discomfort.

If he determines that you are suffering from an arthritic shoulder condition, Dr. Soffer will thoroughly explain your shoulder arthritis treatment options and help you decide on the best one for you. If another type of issue is causing the problem, he’ll guide you towards the appropriate course of treatment for that condition while being sure to take your specific situation (age, activity level, etc.) into account.

If you are eager to return to an active lifestyle that isn’t centered around your shoulder condition, call our office at 610-375-4949 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Soffer. We look forward to offering you personalized, compassionate shoulder care.

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