Arthritic Problems

Shoulder joint Arthritis

This CT scan shows advanced wear and tear changes in the shoulder joint. In a normal healthy joint a space about 3-4mm would be seen on X-ray images between the head of the humerus and the socket part of the joint representing the normal cartilage of the joint. Arthritis of the shoulder joint is uncommon. It can occur as part of a general disease, either osteo-arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It can also happen after an injury. In the condition, the cartilage covering the ends of the bones and making up the joints breaks down and often flakes of into the joint. The joint becomes hot and stiff and the lying of the joint becomes inflamed. In osteoarthritis, spurs form around the margins of the joint and can, sometimes break off inside. Pain can vary from mild to very severe. It is commonest in middle aged and elderly patients. It is normally diagnosed by x-ray. Often, in the early stages, it can be treated with injections and physiotherapy, however, when severe it is best treated with a shoulder replacement as shown in the image. Surgeons at the Upper Limb Centre are skilled in convention shoulder replacement surgery and also in resurfacing replacements. These operations are performed through a 3 inch incision on the front of the shoulder. Extensive physiotherapy is required following these procedures before adequate function returns.

A further article has been written by Mr Hughes for the benefit of local GPs and can be access by following the following link to Shoulder Replacement Information for GPs.

Acromio-clavicular Arthritis

Patients can also develop arthritis in the small joint between the acromion and the outer end of the collar bone. This can be very painful and disabling. At the Upper Limb Center we perform a local removal of the end of the collar bone to relieve symptoms. This can be done by either an arthroscopic or open technique.

© Peter James Hughes 2015