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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Is There a Alternative to Surgery for Treating Arthritis in Shoulders?

09/15/2008

Question:

I have been told that I have bone to bone arthritis in both shoulders. Is there anything I can do other than an operation? I`m a truck driver and can`t shut down that long.

Answer:

There is no medication that has definitively been proven to rebuild cartilage in humans. In this regard, total joint arthroplasty can provide an artificial joint where extensive damage has occurred to the natural joint. It has the potential to restore range of motion that has been lost due to anatomical obstruction in the joint. Decreased pain is also a primary objective. The true shoulder joint is the glenohumeral joint. Unlike osteoarthritis of the acromioclavicular joint (where the collar bone meets the shoulder) which is quite common, glenohumeral degeneration is not typical unless there has been some precipitating factor such as joint trauma, chronic rotator cuff tear, inflammatory arthritis, or others. If the underlying cause of the glenohumeral damage is inflammatory arthritis, then it would serve you well to seek care for the inflammatory arthritis.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University