Five Types of Shoulder Arthritis & Available Treatment

Shoulder arthritis can be a painful condition that hinders your mobility and overall functionality of your shoulder. Our team of orthopedic specialists offers treatment to help return you to full mobility and activity.

Learn more about the types of arthritis that affect the shoulder and available treatment from Rebound shoulder surgeon, Dr. Anthony Wei.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in the shoulder. There are five common types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder, causing pain and decreased mobility. These include:


“Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis that affects the shoulder,” says Dr. Wei. “This type of arthritis often comes with age and causes protective cartilage to wear away over time, which is why we typically refer to it as ‘wear-and-tear’ arthritis. When the cartilage wears away, there is no longer a cushion to keep the joints from rubbing against each other.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the joints in the shoulder rather than the cartilage between joints.

“The swelling of this crucial lubricating lining results in pain in both joints of the shoulder, making it difficult for everyday common movements,” says Dr. Wei.

Posttraumatic Arthritis

Posttraumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury.

“Some patients develop arthritis after an injury to the shoulder,” says Dr. Wei. “This could be the result of a fracture, dislocation, athletic injury or other type of trauma.”

Rotator Cuff Arthropathy

This form of arthritis affecting the shoulder is typically the result of an untreated rotator cuff injury, such as a rotator cuff tear.

“Patients showing signs of rotator cuff arthropathy usually experience shoulder pain, weakness and a decreased range of motion,” says Dr. Wei.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a condition affecting blood circulation to the shoulder. While this condition may not initially show symptoms, it worsens with time and can lead to shoulder arthritis.

“When a patient has avascular necrosis, blood flow to the humerus bone in the shoulder is inhibited,” says Dr. Wei. “When blood isn’t able to travel to the bone, the cells in the shoulder die.”

Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis

Our board certified shoulder surgeons use the latest in diagnostic and treatment techniques, whether your condition requires nonsurgical or surgical treatment. While there is not a cure for arthritis, there are procedures that can help repair damaged areas of the shoulder and relieve pain. Depending on the severity of the condition, Rebound specialists initially recommend nonsurgical treatment.

Nonsurgical treatment methods may include rest, heat and ice therapy, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, supplements or Corticosteroid injections.

Two of the more common surgical methods used by Rebound surgeons are arthroscopy and arthroplasty.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy allows surgeons to insert a miniature camera into a patient’s shoulder through small incisions. The camera displays a feed on a nearby monitor, which lets the surgeon get a detailed, inside look at the shoulder in order to diagnose and treat the affected area.

Shoulder Arthroplasty

Shoulder arthroplasty, or shoulder replacement surgery, is a procedure that involves removing the damaged area of the joint and replacing it with metal and plastic prosthetic components.


Related Rebound Resources:

Rebound Shoulder Team and Services

Rebound Joint Replacement Team and Services

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery for Rotator Cuff Repair

Tendinitis, Impingement and Bursitis: Common Sources of Shoulder Pain

Trusted Resources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) – Arthritis of the Shoulder

AAOS – Shoulder Arthroscopy

AAOS – Shoulder Joint Replacement

AAOS – Shoulder Surgery