When the normal joint cartilage has worn away, shoulder replacement surgery can help with arthritis and shoulder treatment of severe arthritis. A shoulder replacement is performed as a treatment for severe arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that can cause the normally smooth cartilage lining of the joint to erode.
As the cartilage wears away, the protective layer between the bones is lost—when this happens, painful bone-on-bone arthritis can develop. Severe shoulder arthritis is often painful and can cause restriction of shoulder motion. There are much more simple treatments for shoulder arthritis that should be tried before considering shoulder replacement surgery. Total shoulder replacement surgery alleviates pain by replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a metal and plastic implant. The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, much like the hip joint.
This joint allows people an enormous range of motion at the shoulder. When shoulder replacement surgery is performed, the ball is removed from the top of the humerus and replaced with a metal implant. This is shaped like a half-moon and attached to a stem inserted down the center of the arm bone. The socket portion of the joint is shaved clean and replaced with a plastic socket that is cemented into the shoulder blade. Patients who have tried the usual treatments for shoulder arthritis, but have not been able to find adequate relief, may be a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery. Patients considering the procedure should understand how shoulder replacement is done, the possible risks of surgery, and understand that the goal of joint replacement is to alleviate pain, not increase strength or motion. Patients generally find improved motion after surgery, but these improvements are not as consistent as the pain relief following shoulder replacement surgery.
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Open fans of seeing Maria Sharapova last year, but professional athletes aren’t the only ones bedeviled by their shoulder joints — shoulder arthritis is the bane of thousands of active Americans, especially as they age. The most common presentation is in active patients who have a busy life, as the forces of normal weight-bearing activities wear down the cartilage and it isn’t repaired. The arthritis that forms in the shoulder usually isn’t related to a direct injury, though if you have a fracture, you can develop arthritis down the road. In this condition, the cell that makes new cartilage dies — for reasons that we don’t know — and we can’t get it alive again. Cartilage is crucial for movement because because it provides cushioning between the bones where they meet in the joint. If you wear it down long enough and don’t have a way to replace it, then it wears down to the bone. Because osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease also related to activity, the group at highest risk is the middle-aged athlete.
No one is exempt from developing osteoarthritis, which follows no set pattern. Some people get arthritis because they have cells that don’t regenerate, whereas there could be a similar 70-year-old across the street who still has those cells, allowing the cartilage to be nourished and resupplied. However, there are some common sense steps to help minimize your risk. To protect your shoulder in particular, you have to do something with you arms to maintain flexibility and strength, whether it’s yoga, tennis, golf, or working out in the gym.