Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Shoulder


Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints in your body and in the case of shoulder arthritis, inflammation can lead to stiffness and pain in shoulder joints. Even though there is no permanent cure available for shoulder arthritis, many treatment options are available. Making use of these treatment options, many people suffering from arthritis can manage pain.

As per rheumatology experts, there are five types of arthritis affecting the shoulder joint. These forms of arthritis are explained in the paragraphs that follow.

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

RA or rheumatoid arthritis can influence several joints present in the body. Our joints are covered with a fluid lining called synovium. RA results in swelling of the synovium, leading to firmness and pain in the joint. It is symmetrical and so it is commonly observed in both the joints of the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

A long-established rotator cuff tear can also lead to arthritis. The torn rotator cuff will not be able to hold the humerus bone in the socket, making it rub against the acromion. The friction from the rubbing can damage the bone surfaces, resulting in arthritis. The combination of arthritis and rotator cuff tear can result in weakness and pain, making it almost impossible for the person to lift the arm away from the side.

Posttraumatic Arthritis

This type of arthritis develops as a result of a major injury like dislocation of the shoulder or a fracture. Due to the instability of the shoulder joints, injuries can be common and these can lead to posttraumatic arthritis. Sporting injuries can also lead to this type of arthritis.

Avascular Necrosis          

This is a painful condition caused by disruption to the blood supply to the head of the humerus bone. As the cells that make up the bones die without a constant supply of blood, avascular necrosis (AVN) can destroy the shoulder joint and lead to arthritis. AVN develops in stages and with its progression, the dead bone collapses gradually which can damage the articular cartilage covering, resulting in arthritis.


This type of arthritis destroys the articular cartilage of bones. With the wear of the cartilage, bones can become rough and frayed, decreasing the protective space between bones. This will lead to the bones of the shoulder joint rubbing against each other and the friction can result in pain and stiffness. This type of arthritis typically affects people above fifty years of age.

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