Osteoarthritis Treatment Denver

What is Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder?

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a type of joint inflammation that results from the breakdown and eventually loss of the surface articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in a joint. This surface cartilage can breakdown for several different reasons including: wear-and-tear over time, genetic predisposition, trauma to the joint, etc. Once the surface cartilage has degenerated enough, the underlying bone becomes exposed in the joint and the bones of the joint no longer glide smoothly against each other. 

What Are Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

Patients with osteoarthritis may experience pain, grinding, catching, locking sensations, and/or loss of range of motion as the cartilage continues to deteriorate. Bone spurs, or osteophytes, may develop around the affected joint as a result of the chronic inflammation associated with the arthritis and these can further reduce shoulder range of motion and function.

How Do You Treat Osteoarthritis?

Initial conservative treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis include: anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), rest, physical therapy, limiting overhead or other aggravating activities, and cortisone injections. Once conservative treatments have failed or the osteoarthritis has become severe enough that it affects a patient’s daily life, a total shoulder replacement is typically recommended to alleviate the pain and improve shoulder function.

What is Osteoarthritis of the Acromioclavicular Joint?

The joint created by the articulation of the clavicle, or collar bone, and the acromion at the top of the shoulder blade is called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Even though the AC joint is a smaller joint that does not move very much, it is a common place for osteoarthritis to develop, especially in middle age individuals and those who do a lot of overhead activities. AC joint arthritis is also more common in individuals that have had an injury to the AC joint in the past, such as a separated shoulder, which refers to the tearing of the acromioclavicular ligament that stabilizes the AC joint.

What Are The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Acromioclavicular Joint?

Patients with AC joint osteoarthritis typically experience pain and tenderness over the top of the shoulder that is worsened by reaching the arm across the body.

How Do You Treat Osteoarthritis of the Acromioclavicular Joint?

Conservative treatments for AC joint arthritis are the same as those recommended for osteoarthritis in the shoulder joint. When a patient continues to have pain despite these conservative treatments, surgical intervention is sometimes recommended. The standard surgical procedure done to treat AC joint arthritis is called a Distal Clavicle Excision; this can be done through an open incision or through a scope. The end of the clavicle bone is removed to open up the joint space and prevent the bones of the clavicle and acromion from rubbing together.