FROM OUR EXPERTS
My shoulder hurts...is it osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a very common problem. Most people know someone who is dealing with arthritis of at least one joint. Spine, hips, knees, and hands are the most common places for osteoarthritis to cause symptoms. However, any joint can be affected and a common question I hear when a patient presents with shoulder pain is: Do I have arthritis?
First, a bit of anatomy -- the shoulder is composed of two separate joints:
(1) the acromioclavicular joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder bone (2) the glenohumeral joint where the ball of the humerus articulates with the shoulder blade (scapula). Both joints can be affected by osteoarthritis. It is relatively uncommon for osteoarthritis to develop in the glenohumeral joint without a history of trauma or previous injury. We'll discuss that in a minute. First, let's review the acromioclavicular joint.
Causes of Shoulder Pain Besides Arthritis The glenohumeral joint is the most mobile j...
Try washing your hair, brushing your teeth or getting dressed without the use of one shoulder, it's darn near impossible to do anything without your shoulders. We use our shoulders all day long, 365 days per year. And over the years, the shoulders may not be feeling as comfortable or limber as they once did back in your younger days. Or maybe you are in your younger years but have been hard on your shoulders. Whether you are young or old, stiff painful shoulders make life's daily activities much more difficult to get done.
The most common reason to have a painful shoulder is tendonitis. The shoulder is a complex joint with a network of tendons called the rotator cuff . As all of the muscles in the shoulder work to pull, push, lift and reach, the tendons - which attach the shoulder muscles to the bones - can get very inflamed and painful. Sometimes the rotator cuff actually gets pinched between two bones, the acromion and the humerus. This condition is called shoulder impin...
"Separation" of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the end of the collarbone meets the shoulder blade, is actually a sprain of the ligaments that connect the two bones. "Separation" is an old medical term that has been applied to the widening of the space between the bones. Since this problem involves ligaments, it really should be called a sprain. AC separation is typically an injury of young, active people who fall on the shoulder. Most commonly, it occurs when a person lands on the point of the shoulder, driving the shoulder blade down relative to the clavicle. Patients often tell of being thrown over the handlebars when bicycling, being tackled while playing football, or being upended while skiing. As with sprains , there are degrees of severity. Weight lifters, in particular those who do bench presses, often get AC separation. It can also occur in other situations where lifting occurs, or with injury such as falling on the shoulder. A mild, or first-degree, s...
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