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Conditions We Treat: Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is the damage of the cartilage that covers the surface of the bones in the shoulder joint. As the cartilage thins out, shoulder bones start to rub together, which may cause pain and limit your range of motion. Our shoulder specialists see numerous patients with shoulder arthritis and can help evaluate your treatment options.

Shoulder Arthritis Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

illustration of total shoulder replacement prosthesis

An illustration of the parts used to create an artificial shoulder joint in a traditional total shoulder replacement procedure.

  • Our doctors treat all types of shoulder arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and shoulder arthritis caused by rotator cuff tears or avascular necrosis.
  • Our shoulder specialists have many years of experience and often work with patients who had prior unsuccessful arthritis treatments.
  • If shoulder replacement is needed, our surgeons use computed tomography and other approaches to determine the anatomy of your shoulder and ensure accuracy of the procedure.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement is one of the procedures our specialists are skilled at and have performed on more than 500 patients over the last decade.
  • Many of our shoulder specialists are accomplished authors and researchers who have spent years studying shoulder problems. They have conducted studies and published extensively on their experience with shoulder replacements.  
  • Shoulder arthritis may develop sooner in those who play certain sports. Many of our doctors have background in sports medicine and know how to treat athletes.

Shoulder Arthritis Treatment Options

The initial treatment for shoulder arthritis is usually nonsurgical and may involve stretching, range-of-motion exercises, icing and modification of activities that cause pain. For severe pain from arthritis, pain medications, steroid injections and lubricant injections may help.

If these treatments don’t provide the desired relief, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options for shoulder arthritis include: 

  • Shoulder arthroscopy -- a minimally invasive procedure that allows for a small incision through which your doctor can debride (clean out) your shoulder. It is usually reserved for non-severe arthritis and can provide pain relief for up to several years.
  • Total shoulder replacement -- both the ball and the socket ends of the shoulder joint are replaced with artificial parts. It is often used when there is bone-on-bone contact inside the shoulder.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement -- reverses the placement of the ball and socket parts of the shoulder joint. It can be recommended to patients with prior failed shoulder replacements or major rotator cuff tears.
  • Partial shoulder replacement -- just the ball portion of the joint is replaced or capped. This may be an option for certain patients.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement | Q&A with Dr. Edward McFarland

A leading expert in his field, Edward McFarland M.D., explains the difference between Total Shoulder Replacement and Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement. An R-TSR can be the solution to certain conditions that a regular Total Shoulder Replacement cannot resolve.


Our Team of Shoulder Specialists

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