Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Pathophysiology

Generally seen in those aged over 65 years and is less common than Osteoarthritis in other places such as the hips or knees. Can be brought on from previous shoulder surgery, previous injury (e.g. fracture), inflammatory condition (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) or overuse injuries (e.g. weightlifters).

Symptoms

  • Stiffness on shoulder movements and restriction
  • Pain, particularly at night and difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • Difficulty carrying out activities such as brushing hair or reaching cupboards
  • Grinding, grating or clicking noises from the shoulder

Management

  • Activity modification
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy
  • Orthopaedic options include reverse shoulder replacement in severe cases

Investigations

  • X-ray can assess the level of Osteoarthritis

Exercises to try:

Shoulder Abduction

Weighted Abduction

In standing or sitting

Holding a light weight (water bottle or tin) or unweighted

Lift your arm to the side until you reach 90 degrees if able

Slowly return to starting position and repeat

Wall Press Up

Wall Press

Standing with your hands on a wall or door, shoulder width apart

Step back with both feet 

Slowly bend both elbows to bring your chest towards the wall

Push back up to the starting position

Shoulder Flexion

Assisted Shoulder Flexion

Lying on your back with a pillow 

Cross one arm over the other with your elbows bent

Use one shoulder to help the other and lift the arms up towards the pillow

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat

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