- What Is Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Glenohumeral Arthritis)?
- How Shoulder Osteoarthritis Causes Pain
- Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder)
- Shoulder Arthritis
- How does shoulder arthritis develop?
- Causes and Types of Shoulder Arthritis
- Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
- Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy
- Shoulder Arthritis Due to Avascular Necrosis
- Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms
- Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosis
- Range-of-Motion Exercises
- Lifestyle Modifications
- Pain Control
- Which medication can I use for my shoulder arthritis?
- Injections for Shoulder Arthritis
- Shoulder Surgery
- Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement
- Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
- Make a Donation
- Become a Member
- Make a Honor or Memorial Gift
- Gift Planning
- Other Ways to Give
- More About Partnerships
- What You Need to Know About Shoulder Osteoarthritis
- 7 best exercises for shoulder arthritis: Tips and what to avoid
- 1. Shoulder elevation stretch
- 2. Shoulder outward rotation stretch
- 3. Shoulder blade rotations
- 4. Pendulum exercise
- 5. Door lean
- 6. Door presses
- 7. Strengthen the postural muscles
What Is Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Glenohumeral Arthritis)?
The pain and stiffness caused by shoulder osteoarthritis can affect arm movement. It can be painful and difficult to hit a golf ball, lift a dish from a kitchen cupboard, or even brush teeth. Even moderate shoulder osteoarthritis can cause chronic dull pain or intermittent flare-ups of intense pain that interrupt sleep.
Shoulder osteoarthritis involves degenerative changes to the cartilage and other structures in the glenohumeral joint. Watch: Shoulder Osteoarthritis Video
Shoulder osteoarthritis may be referred to as glenohumeral osteoarthritis or simply shoulder arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis to affect the shoulder. Inflammatory forms of arthritis—such as rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, and gout, a metabolic disease—have similar symptoms but are less common.
To fully understand shoulder arthritis, it helps to know some shoulder anatomy. The shoulder is comprised of three bones:
- humerus (upper arm)
- scapula (shoulder blade)
- clavicle (collarbone)
See Shoulder Anatomy
The shoulder has 4 joints—places where 2 bones’ surfaces meet—but only 2 of these joints are prone to arthritis and injury:
- The glenohumeral joint is where the rounded head of the humerus nestles into a shallow socket of the scapula, called the glenoid. This ball-and-socket construction allows for the shoulder’s wide range of motion, including circular movement.
- The acromioclavicular joint is located where the clavicle glides along the acromion, which is at the highest point of the scapula. The acromioclavicular joint is more susceptible to osteoarthritis than the glenohumeral joint. See What Is Acromioclavicular Arthritis (AC Joint Arthritis)?
Glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as “shoulder arthritis” and is the focus of this article. The terms “shoulder” and “glenohumeral joint” will be used interchangeably.
See Shoulder Joint Structure
How Shoulder Osteoarthritis Causes Pain
The glenohumeral joint may undergo many changes during osteoarthritis process. These changes include:
Strong, slippery articular cartilage lines the surface of the humeral head and glenoid at the areas where they meet.
The cartilage helps the bones glide against each other and acts as a buffer to protect the bones from impacting one another.
The articular cartilage is naturally thinner in the shoulder joint than in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips.
In osteoarthritis, cartilage is injured, worn away, or otherwise degraded. A loss of cartilage can affect the shoulder’s biomechanics. The humerus and glenoid may rub and grind against one another. The bone-on-bone friction can cause shoulder pain.
Bone spurs and other excess bone growth
To compensate for the deteriorated cartilage, the humerus and glenoid may produce excess cells. The cells may form small, scalloped growths, called osteophytes or bone spurs.
On the humeral head, bone spurs may form a “goat’s beard” that appears at the bottom of its normally round surface.These bone changes may result in even more bone-on-bone friction. The shoulder’s range-of-motion may also be affected.
The bone underneath the damaged cartilage can develop benign (non-cancerous) lesions. These lesions represent areas where healthy bone tissue has been replaced with abnormal tissue. Bone lesions are associated with osteoarthritis pain.1 They are not necessarily permanent.
A delicate membrane that surrounds the shoulder joint, called the synovium, can become inflamed during osteoarthritis.
The synovium produces and contains joint fluid, which supplies nutrients to the joint. An inflamed synovium becomes thicker, and the quantity and composition of the joint fluid it produces may change. This potentially painful condition1 is called synovitis.
See How Do Synovial Joints Work?
Changes to other soft tissues
When osteoarthritis affects the shoulder’s mechanics, surrounding soft tissues can also be affected. Tendons, ligaments, and bursae may undergo excess strain and friction. Inflammation or injury of these tissues may be a painful side-effect of shoulder osteoarthritis.
For example, as cartilage in the glenohumeral joint deteriorates, the joint space between bones shrinks, possibly putting strain on nearby tendons and causing tendinitis.
See What Is Cartilage?
Recognizing the symptoms of shoulder arthritis can help lead to an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. As a general rule, if shoulder arthritis is diagnosed and treated early in the disease process, the patient will experience less pain and fewer long-term complications.
Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder)
Your risk of developing osteoarthritis of the shoulder with its pain and physical limitations increases with age. But an injury, such as a dislocated shoulder, can lead to shoulder osteoarthritis even in young people.
Here is information about the causes of and treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis.
Read on to learn how an arthritic shoulder can affect your range of motion and ability to do everyday things, and discover ways to treat and manage the condition.
Osteoarthritis — also known as degenerative joint disease — occurs when the cartilage that covers the tops of bones, known as articular cartilage, degenerates or wears down. This causes swelling, pain, and sometimes the development of osteophytes — bone spurs — when the ends of the two bones rub together.
The shoulder is made up of two joints, the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the glenohumeral joint. The AC joint is the point where the collarbone, or clavicle, meets the acromion, which is the tip of the shoulder blade. The glenohumeral joint is the point where the top of the arm bone, or humerus, meets the shoulder blade, or scapula. Osteoarthritis is more commonly found in the AC joint.
Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people who are over age 50. In younger people, osteoarthritis can result from an injury or trauma, such as a fractured or dislocated shoulder. This is known as posttraumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis may also be hereditary.
As with most types of osteoarthritis, pain is a key symptom. A person with shoulder arthritis is ly to have pain while moving the shoulder and after moving the shoulder. The person can even have pain while sleeping.
Another symptom may be a limited range of motion. This limitation can be seen when you are trying to move your arm. It can also be evident if someone is moving your arm to assess range of motion. Moving the shoulder might also produce a clicking or creaking noise.
To diagnose shoulder osteoarthritis, the doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam to assess pain, tenderness, and loss of motion and to look for other signs in surrounding tissues. At this point, the doctor may be able to tell if the muscle near the joint has signs of atrophy, or weakness, from lack of use.
Tests that might be ordered to diagnose osteoarthritis of the shoulder include:
- Blood tests, mainly to look for rheumatoid arthritis, but also to exclude other diseases
- Removal of synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid in the lining (synovium) of the joint, for analysis
- MRI scans
The first treatments for osteoarthritis, including osteoarthritis of the shoulder, do not involve surgery. These treatments include:
- Resting the shoulder joint. This could mean that the person with arthritis has to change the way he moves the arm while performing the activities of daily living. For example, the person might wear clothing that zips up the front instead of clothing that goes over the head. Or the person might prop up hair dryers instead of holding them up for long periods of time.
- Taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These drugs, also called NSAIDS, will reduce inflammation and pain. Check with your doctor to make sure you can take these drugs safely.
- Performing physical therapy as assigned by the doctor.
- Performing range-of-motion exercises. These exercises are used as an attempt to increase flexibility.
- Applying moist heat.
- Applying ice to the shoulder. Ice is applied for 20 minutes two or three times a day to decrease inflammation and pain.
- Using other medications prescribed by the doctor. These might include injections of corticosteroids, for example.
- Taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. Many people claim relief with these supplements. Evidence is conflicting as to whether they really help. You should discuss using these with your doctor because the supplements may interact with other drugs.
If nonsurgical treatments do not work effectively, there are surgeries available. As with any surgery, there are certain risks and potential complications, including infection or problems with anesthesia. Surgical treatments include:
- Shoulder joint replacement (total shoulder arthroplasty). Replacing the whole shoulder with an artificial joint is usually done to treat arthritis of the glenohumeral joint.
- Replacement of the head of the humerus, or upper arm bone (hemiarthroplasty). This option, too, is used to treat arthritis of the glenohumeral joint.
- Removal of a small piece of the end of the collarbone (resection arthroplasty). This option is the most common surgery for treating arthritis of the AC joint and associated rotator cuff problems. After the removal of the end of the bone, the space fills with scar tissue.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Arthritis of the Shoulder.”
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Injection of the Shoulder Region.”
Arthritis Foundation: “Disease Center: Osteoarthritis.”
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): “Shoulder Problems.”
© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Osteoarthritis of the Knee (Degenerative Arthritis of the Knee)
Linkedin Pinterest Arthritis Orthopedics Shoulder Shoulder Surgery What You Need to Know
- Arthritis is damage to the cartilage in joints. Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage starts wearing down on the ball and/or socket sides of the shoulder joint.
- Symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include pain in the shoulder joint, stiffness and reduced range of motion.
- There are many nonoperative treatments for shoulder arthritis, including stretches, lifestyle modifications, application of ice or heat, and medication to control the pain.
- Surgical options, such as shoulder replacement, are available to treat shoulder arthritis if nonoperative treatments don’t offer the desired relief.
Shoulder arthritis is damage to the cartilage inside the shoulder joint. The shoulder has two joints.
Shoulder arthritis commonly refers to the bigger ball-and-socket joint named the glenohumeral joint after the bones it connects (glenoid and humerus). The cartilage covers both the ball (the humeral head) and the socket (the glenoid).
When the cartilage in the shoulder begins to break down on the surface and eventually in the deeper layers, it’s called shoulder arthritis. The second joint in the shoulder, the acromioclavicular or AC joint, can also develop arthritis known as AC joint arthritis.
How does shoulder arthritis develop?
Shoulder arthritis usually results from gradual wear and tear of the cartilage. Cartilage is present in every joint in the body; it covers the surface of the bones inside the joints similar to Teflon on a ball bearing.
Cartilage is a living tissue 2 millimeters to 3 millimeters thick — about the thickness of one or two layers of cardboard. This makes the contact between bones softer.
If the cartilage is intact, it can take multiple rotations with no wear of the surface because it’s smooth.
Shoulder arthritis typically develops in stages. First, the cartilage gets soft (A), then it develops cracks in the surface (B), then it begins to “fibrillate” (deteriorate and flake) (C), and finally, it wears away to expose the surface of the bone (D). As a result, it loses its ability to act as a smooth, gliding surface.
The cartilage doesn’t wear away all at once over the entire surface of the bone in a joint. Instead, it wears at different rates in different parts. So if you consider the surface of a ball bearing that was covered with Teflon, this type of wear would be as if the Teflon had pits and the surface would now be irregular (see the image below).
Once the surface becomes irregular, the cartilage may undergo further damage. It may begin to thin out, eventually leading to the bones of the shoulder rubbing against each other (stage four cartilage loss). Many people think that arthritis is bone-on-bone traction in the joint, but in reality, arthritis is the process that can lead to the bone-on-bone traction.
It is impossible to tell how fast shoulder arthritis will get worse. Every person’s shoulder joint has different degrees of damage to the cartilage. Typically, when certain activities produce pain, it means that the cartilage is experiencing stress. Generally, the more painful the activity, the more ly it is to damage the cartilage and the shoulder joint further.
Causes and Types of Shoulder Arthritis
There are several different forms of shoulder arthritis. Each may have different origins, and some causes of shoulder arthritis are still unknown.
Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is often associated with wear and tear related to aging. It can also affect other joints besides the shoulder and is the most common form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means your body attacks your own healthy cells, which may include the lining of the joint. This inflammatory arthritis can be present in both shoulders at the same time.
If your shoulder was fractured, dislocated or otherwise injured, you may develop post-traumatic arthritis.
Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy
Rotator cuff tear arthropathy is a type of shoulder arthritis that can develop after a massive and prolonged rotator cuff tear. The four rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder wrap around the ball portion of the shoulder joint, holding it in place. If one or more of these tendons is heavily torn, this may cause the humeral head to rub against other bones and develop arthritis.
Shoulder Arthritis Due to Avascular Necrosis
Avascular necrosis refers to the disrupted blood supply to an area of the body, which results in that area dying (necrosis). In the shoulder, the humeral head (the ball of the shoulder joint) may lose blood supply due to disease, traumatic injuries, and other causes. Without a blood supply, the bone will slowly collapse, becoming uneven and causing arthritis.
Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms
The amount of cartilage loss varies from person to person and so do symptoms of shoulder arthritis:
- Pain in the shoulder joint is the major sign of arthritis. It can be present in the front, side or back of the shoulder. Some people have pain even when they are not using the arm, and some have pain only when using it. Arthritis pain can occur at any time of day and can be present with or without shoulder stiffness. Often the pain is worse with lifting, carrying heavy objects or after exercising. The pain can often radiate into the arm or, if severe, can radiate down to the elbow and wrist.
- Stiffness of the joint is another sign of shoulder arthritis progression. You may experience stiffness as a loss of range of motion in the shoulder. As the motion decreases, you may find that you can do fewer things with your arm, and these activities may be limited due to pain.
- Grinding, clicking or cracking (crepitus) may be felt since the surface of the cartilage is irregular with arthritis. It may or may not be painful. Sometimes the shoulder may “lock up.” Occasionally, because the surfaces are no longer smooth, you may feel the shoulder slide in certain positions.
Shoulder Arthritis Diagnosis
To diagnose shoulder arthritis, your physician will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. The degree of arthritis and the amount of bone in the socket can be evaluated and confirmed with an X-ray or, if needed, with a CT scan.
The initial treatment for shoulder arthritis is medical (nonoperative) treatment. It often starts with range-of-motion exercises to keep the shoulder mobile. If your range of motion is not affected, then the goal is to prevent it from deteriorating.
Loss of motion in the shoulder joint due to arthritis is often gradual and can be hard to notice. As the joint gets stiffer, the pain and the ability to be active may also worsen.
It’s recommended to stretch for two to three minutes every day, whether you have a loss of motion or not.
Physical therapy for shoulder arthritis is typically not needed unless you are losing range of motion. Strengthening the shoulder with arthritis is usually not recommended, as in some instances it could cause more pain. However, if exercises do not bother the shoulder, then they are perfectly fine to do.
The second medical treatment is to avoid, within reason, the things that make the shoulder painful. Generally, anything that causes pain should be avoided, especially if the pain interferes with your life.
If shoulder pain lasts for several days and wakes you up at night, it may be reasonable to question how important that activity is to you.
For example, if you have pain while playing golf, it may be necessary to cut down to once a week instead of playing daily.
The third medical treatment is to try to control the pain. This can be done in several ways:
- Ice is your friend. Ice packs are great for pain and can be used once or several times a day if needed. You can use a bag of ice or a cold therapy pad that can be placed in the freezer and reused. The ice pack should be placed on the front, across the top, and on the back of the shoulder. It can be used for 20-30 minutes at a time. If the pain is waking you up at night, consider icing the shoulder before bed.
- Some people feel that heat is a better treatment for shoulder arthritis pain. Heat is often good for warming up the joint before stretching, but you should use whatever strategy provides the best relief.
- Medication can also be used to control pain, but all of them have their benefits and potential complications. Discuss your medications with your primary care physician or your surgeon to make sure you don’t have any reasons to avoid certain medications.
Which medication can I use for my shoulder arthritis?
You could start with acetaminophen since it has few side effects. However, it can affect the liver if used in high doses, so consult with your physician about the best dose. The next class of medicines that help shoulder arthritis symptoms are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Most NSAIDs can be taken only when pain is present, providing relief on demand. If you need more consistent pain relief, speak with your doctor. Also, NSAIDs should not be taken if you have a history of bleeding and ulcers, are on blood thinners, have kidney failure, certain heart diseases or other conditions.
You should discuss these issues with your physician before taking NSAIDs.
Injections for Shoulder Arthritis
There are currently two types of injections that can provide pain relief for shoulder arthritis. The first type is cortisone shots.
Typically, cortisone is mixed with a numbing agent that provides immediate pain relief and helps your doctor know if the injection is in the right place.
Once the numbing medicine wears off, the joint may be sore until the cortisone kicks in. It’s important to ice the shoulder for a day or so after the shot.
Cortisone shots don’t damage the shoulder, but most surgeons limit them to no more than a few a year in most cases of arthritis. Cortisone shots may increase the risk of infection if you undergo a total shoulder replacement soon after the shot. If you are considering the surgery, consider avoiding cortisone shots a few months prior.
The other medicine that can help with shoulder arthritis is synthetically manufactured hyaluronic acid. It’s a naturally occurring lubricant in the human body.
This liquid substance has been injected into arthritic knees for many years.
This injection sometimes helps with the pain for up to two years, but it is unusual for it to take all the pain away for an extended period of time.
The current recommendation is not to have shoulder replacement surgery within three months of having a cortisone shot in the shoulder. If you are considering surgery, it is best to avoid cortisone shots until you have discussed it with your doctor.
When the nonsurgical treatments don’t work any longer, you may need surgery. Surgical options depend on your age and the degree of arthritis.
Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement
This minimally invasive procedure uses a small camera (an arthroscope) and surgical tools inserted through small incisions to “clean out” (debride) the shoulder joint. It is recommended for patients with lower grades of arthritis and is typically not recommended when there is bone-on-bone traction.
If you have some cartilage left in the joint, sometimes debridement can provide pain relief. No bone spurs are removed during this procedure, as the spurs are the result of arthritis and not the cause.
This operation is considered a success if it relieves pain for 12 to 24 months.
Although in some cases the pain relief may last longer, this operation is typically not a permanent solution for shoulder arthritis as it does not change the presence of the disease.
Shoulder replacement is the preferred procedure for bone-on-bone shoulder arthritis. It relieves the pain of arthritis, and it has been shown to last for many years.
A standard total shoulder replacement procedure replaces the ball and the socket parts of the shoulder joint with artificial parts.
In a reverse total shoulder replacement procedure, the ball and socket sides of the joint switch places. This procedure can be done for many conditions, but it’s mainly used when there is a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder with arthritis.
There are other types of shoulder replacements that are not as widely used today. One such type is a hemiarthroplasty — a procedure that replaces only the ball part of the shoulder joint. There is also an operation called a cup arthroplasty.
It is similar to a hemiarthroplasty, except only the surface of the bone under the humeral head (ball) is removed. The area is smoothed and rounded, and a replacement piece shaped a hollow half of a ball is placed on the end of the arm bone.
Your shoulder specialist will help you determine the best treatment option for your shoulder arthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
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What You Need to Know About Shoulder Osteoarthritis
BSIP / Universal Images Group / Getty Images
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the shoulder. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder can affect the two joints in the shoulder area—the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint. Early diagnosis and treatment help people with osteoarthritis of the shoulder manage their symptoms.
The shoulder is considered the most movable joint in the body, but because of its range of motion, the shoulder is more unstable than other joints. The shoulder is a common site of injury. The ball of the upper arm is actually larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain stable, the shoulder is supported by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The degenerative process associated with osteoarthritis can affect the shoulder, though it is less common than in other joints. When osteoarthritis develops in the glenohumeral joint, it is usually the result of a previous injury. Osteoarthritis in the acromioclavicular joint can be painful and cause problems when using the joint for everyday tasks.
In order to diagnose osteoarthritis of the shoulder, the patient's medical history, physical examination, and x-rays are considered. The doctor will look for certain signs and symptoms during the physical examination including:
- muscle weakness or atrophy
- tenderness to the touch and pain when pressure is applied to joint
- range of motion, both assisted and self-directed
- signs of injury to muscles, tendons, ligaments around the shoulder
- evidence of previous injuries
- crepitus, a grating sensation upon movement of the shoulder
- x-ray evidence that reveals narrowing of joint space, changes in bone, the presence of osteophytes
Pain is the most common symptom associated with shoulder osteoarthritis. The shoulder affected by osteoarthritis worsens with activity and the pain becomes progressively worse. It's interesting to note that:
- if glenohumeral shoulder joint affected, pain is centered in the back of the shoulder, and weather changes can increase pain intensity
- if acromioclavicular joint affected, pain is concentrated in the front of the shoulder
Limited range of motion is another primary symptom of shoulder osteoarthritis.
It may become difficult to reach a shelf or raise your arm to brush your hair as well as any other activity that requires you to move the shoulder. Crepitus is felt and heard during movement of the shoulder.
As shoulder osteoarthritis progresses, pain is constant with any shoulder movement. Pain will occur at night too, making sleeping difficult.
Nonsurgical treatments are tried before surgery is considered for shoulder osteoarthritis. Treatment options include:
- rest the shoulder
- change or adapt routine activities to lessen pain
- moist heat can provide pain relief
- medications including NSAIDs or steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- ice shoulder for 20 to 30 minutes, two or three times a day to reduce pain and inflammation
There are surgical options as a last resort when all other treatments have failed. The glenohumeral joint can undergo a total shoulder arthroplasty.
If the head of the upper arm bone is the only portion replaced, the procedure is called a hemiarthroplasty.
For the acromioclavicular joint, the common surgical procedure is a resection arthroplasty (removing the last half inch of the clavicle).
An accurate diagnosis and early treatment help decrease pain and improve function for the shoulder osteoarthritis patient. Appropriate treatment changes can be made as shoulder osteoarthritis progresses.
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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Arthritis of the Shoulder. Your Orthopedic Connection. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. July 2007.
- A Patient's Guide to Osteoarthritis of the Acromioclavicular Joint. eOrthopod.
- Osteoarthritis. ADAM Healthcare Center.
7 best exercises for shoulder arthritis: Tips and what to avoid
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Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the shoulder joints. Performing specific exercises on a regular basis can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, which include pain and swelling.
Approximately 54.4 million people in the United States receive an arthritis diagnosis every year.
Arthritis causes flares of inflammation in the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. These symptoms can have a significant impact on how much mobility people have in the affected joints.
As a result, arthritis tends to make it more challenging to exercise. However, keeping the joints active can have a powerful effect on the severity of arthritis symptoms.
The types of arthritis that commonly affect the shoulder include rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis.
In this article, we look at exercises that may reduce the damage that arthritis does to the shoulder joints and help people manage pain.
The most beneficial types of exercise for arthritis include:
- range-of-motion and flexibility exercises, such as stretches, which reduce stiffness
- strength exercises that build muscle mass around the joints, which reduces the strain on them
- aerobic activities, such as walking, swimming, and cycling, as these improve heart, lung, and muscle function
The following exercises should stretch and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint:
1. Shoulder elevation stretch
This exercise improves the range of motion in the shoulder joints and stretches the muscles. Doing this exercise regularly should facilitate daily activities, such as reaching for items on shelves. To do this exercise:
- Lie on your back.
- Hold a broom handle or walking stick with both hands, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
- Place the handle or stick gently on the thighs.
- Slowly raise the pole up past the chest, then over the head so that it is almost touching the floor above the head. Keep the arms as straight as possible throughout.
- Lower the handle or stick slowly back down to the thighs.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions once a day.
You should feel a gentle stretch in the shoulders, back, and chest as the arms move overhead.
2. Shoulder outward rotation stretch
This exercise also requires a broom handle or walking stick. It improves the flexibility in the shoulder joints. Follow the steps below:
- Lie on your back.
- Keeping the upper arms by your sides, bend your elbows and hold the stick out above the chest with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly move the pole to the left until you feel a stretch in the left shoulder.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the right side of the body.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions once a day.
3. Shoulder blade rotations
This rotation stretches the shoulders to promote increased range of movement. To do this exercise:
- Stand in a neutral position with your hands at your sides.
- Raise your shoulders towards your ears and hold for 5 seconds.
- Gently squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds.
- Pull the shoulder blades downward and hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
4. Pendulum exercise
The pendulum exercise helps relieve pain and relax the shoulder muscles. It involves the following series of movements:
- Bend forward and rest a hand on top of a chair or counter for support and balance. Use the arm that is less sore to do this.
- Allow the other hand to hang down.
- Using motion from the legs and hips, gently swing the hanging hand back and forth and side to side in a circular motion.
- Repeat this 30 times in each direction once a day.
5. Door lean
The door lean can help stretch the muscles in the shoulders and improve resistance in the joints. Perform the exercise as follows:
- Stand facing toward a doorway and raise both hands above your head.
- Place one hand on either side of the doorframe.
- Gently lean forward until you feel a comfortable tension in your shoulders.
- Hold this position for 15–30 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
6. Door presses
Door press exercises can help build strength in the shoulder joints. To do these exercises:
- Stand in a doorway and bend one elbow into a right angle with the thumb on that hand pointing toward the ceiling.
- Press the back of your wrist into the doorframe.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat with the palm of your hand, using the other side of the doorframe.
- Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
7. Strengthen the postural muscles
Strengthening the postural muscles will improve overall posture, allowing the shoulders to move more easily in all directions. These exercises require an exercise band, which it is possible to buy in a sporting goods store or online.
To do these exercises:
- Stand straight with your shoulders back.
- Loop the exercise band behind a solid, vertical object and hold one end in either hand.
- Relax your shoulders and bend your elbows at your sides.
- Pull your elbows backward while squeezing the shoulder blades together. If the exercise band does not provide any resistance, take a step back or loop the ends of the bands around your hands.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions once a day.
Share on PinterestWarming up before exercise may include a brisk walk or light aerobic activity.
Arthritis can make exercising more challenging, so be sure to exercise with care to avoid injury. Follow these tips to stay safe when exercising with arthritis.
Warm up before doing any exercise to stimulate blood flow around the body. A warmup might include a brisk 10-minute walk or another light aerobic activity.
It should be possible to feel a stretch in the shoulders when doing these exercises, but they should not be painful. If a particular motion hurts, stop doing it right away. If the pain persists for several hours after the exercise, it may be necessary to see a doctor.
If the exercises cause any swelling in the shoulders, use an ice pack to reduce inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be beneficial.
It is crucial to avoid doing exercises that strain the shoulder muscles or put excessive pressure on them, as this can result in injury.
Certain stretches may be painful or uncomfortable for some people and not others, so it is vital to always listen to your body during exercise.
For some people, shoulder exercises such as pushups or lifting heavy weights can be too intense for the shoulder joints. However, light exercise is necessary to build up the shoulder muscles.
Aerobic exercise is also essential for physical health and mental well-being. People with severe symptoms could try gentle alternatives to regular forms of exercise, for example, replacing swimming with water therapy. This form of exercise offers many of the same benefits as swimming but places less pressure on the shoulders.
Some people with milder symptoms may be able to continue with traditional forms of aerobic exercise.
The most appropriate type or frequency of exercise will vary from person to person. It depends on the severity of the person’s arthritis symptoms and other factors, such as the amount of muscle surrounding the affected joints.
A physical therapist should be able to work with an individual to create a tailored exercise plan for them and explain any specific types of exercise that they should avoid.
The outlook for arthritis in the shoulder joints is variable. In the early stages of the condition, symptoms are generally mild and do not have a significant impact on the range of motion.
When arthritis is more advanced, people may experience severe pain and reduced movement in the affected shoulder joints.
Regular exercise will keep the shoulder joints active, which can have a noticeable impact on reducing pain and improving the range of motion in this area of the body. People should exercise with care to avoid further damaging the joints or surrounding tissues.