What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff. It is more common in weightbearing joints but it can also affect the shoulder.
The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. For some people, the symptoms may be mild and may come and go, whereas others can experience more continuous and severe problems.
How do we treat osteoarthritis at the Mansfield Clinic?
Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition which cannot be cured, but it doesn't necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. A number of treatments are available to reduce the symptoms. Dr Allfree may choose to use one or more of the following treatment strategies to help your joint pain:
The shoulder is actually made up of two separate joints:
Osteoarthritis can affect both joints, but it is more commin in the AC joint.
Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people over the age of 50. It can affect younger people if there has been a history of injury or trauma, such as a fracture, or a dislocation of the shoulder. Falls onto the tip of the shoulder, such as in rugby, or horseriding, can damage the AC joint.
The main symptoms are pain and stiffness. There may also be a sensation of grating when the joint is moved - this is called crepitus. The pain of AC joint osteoarthritis is usually felt at the tip of the shoulder, whereas osteoarthritis in the glenohumeral joint radiates down the arm towards the elbow.
Dr Allfree will normally be able to diagnose osteoarthritis by taking a medical history, and examining your shoulder. He may require tests such as x-rays to confirm the diagnosis, and these will be arranged for you if necessary. Blood tests may be required to rule out other types of arthritis.
Treatment will include:
If non-surgical treatments do not work effectively, it may be necessary to obtain the advice of a shoulder surgeon. Dr Allfree will be able to help you with the referral arrangements.