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At Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our shoulder surgeons specialize in treating shoulder arthritis. The Slocum Center has been caring for shoulder conditions for many years. That means that your care will be provided by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched throughout Oregon. 

Pain and stiffness that progressively worsen and are aggravated by activity may indicate arthritis of the shoulder. This can be confirmed with appropriate X-rays. Pain, often felt deep in the joint or on the outer arm, may intensify with changes in the weather. Limited motion may occur, making it more difficult to comb hair or reach up to a shelf. Sometimes, the shoulder makes a grinding sound when it is moved. As the disease progresses, any movement of the shoulder causes pain. Night pain is common and sleeping may be difficult.

Although shoulder arthritis is much less common than hip or knee arthritis, three major types of arthritis generally affect the shoulder.

  • Osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that destroys the smooth outer covering (articular cartilage) of bone, usually affects people over 50 years of age.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, a systemic inflammatory condition of the joint lining, usually affects multiple joints on both sides of the body.
  • Posttraumatic arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis, develops after an injury such as a fracture or dislocation of the shoulder. Arthritis can also develop after a rotator cuff tear.


Initial treatment of arthritis of the shoulder includes resting the shoulder, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation, icing the shoulder for 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a day, and taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. If the diagnosis is rheumatoid arthritis, a disease-modifying drug, such as methotrexate, may be prescribed by a rheumatologist.

If conservative treatment does not reduce pain, there are several different types of shoulder replacements. The usual total shoulder replacement involves replacing the arthritic joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem and a plastic socket. The components come in various sizes. Depending on the condition of the shoulder, a surgeon may replace only the ball. In certain salvage situations, such as severe arthritis accompanying a massive rotator cuff tear, a reverse shoulder replacement may be considered.