Shoulder Arthritis

OPA treats a wide variety of shoulder conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

The head of the humerus, the glenoid cavity of the scapula, and clavicle form the ball and socket shoulder joint. The joint is very important because it helps move the arm. Like all joints of the body, the shoulder is susceptible to arthritis, a disease characterized by the wear and tear of joint bone and cartilage.

Common Causes:

    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Stiffness
    • Decreased range of motion

Shoulder arthritis can be particularly problematic because it can limit your ability to perform normal, everyday movements required for daily living, most commonly gripping, grabbing, and reaching for objects.

Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of shoulder specialists use the following process to diagnose shoulder arthritis:

    • A detailed medical history and symptom review
    • A thorough physical examination
    • Diagnostic imaging studies (multiple view x-rays and possibly an MRI)

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease symptoms as quickly as possible.

Common Treatments:

A combination of treatment options is usually prescribed to maximize symptom relief and improve shoulder function.

Non-surgical treatment options treat mild to moderate shoulder arthritis. Any combination of the following may be included in an OPA specialist’s customized treatment plan:

Corticosteroid and anesthetic medications that quickly decrease inflammation and pain when they are injected into the shoulder joint.

Taken orally or applied topically to decrease inflammation and pain.

Physical Therapy
Shoulder stretching and strengthening exercises that are prescribed and monitored by an OPA approved physical therapist.

Severe shoulder arthritis that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment options may require surgical intervention. A partial or total shoulder replacement removes arthritic bone and cartilage and replaces it with metal and plastic components. Following recovery and physical therapy, patients are able to move their arm without pain and return to an active lifestyle.

Schedule Appointment with Our Shoulder Team


The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions, minimally invasive arthroscopies (repairs) and total joint replacement.

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