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My Shoulder Hurts, Could It Be Arthritis?

The human shoulder consists of three bones and many muscles. The upper section of the humerus is part of the shoulder. The second part is the shoulder blade that we call scapula scientifically. The clavicle or collarbone is the third bone of the shoulder. There are two joints in the shoulder. There is a joint where the humerus meets the scapula. It has another at the meeting point of scapula and clavicle. As shoulder joints are one of the most used joints in the human body, arthritis can affect the shoulder joint and cause pain and inflammation. We have compiled a detailed guide about shoulder joint arthritis.

Shoulder Arthritis Types

It is the inflammation of joints. As the shoulder has two joints, there are more chances of inflammation. It can be due to many different reasons. We have categorized it according to the cause of the joint inflammation.


Every joint in the human body can repair itself. If the joint cannot repair itself due to aging or the unavailability of calcium, it can cause osteoarthritis. It is common in the shoulder because most older people get this type after the age of fifty.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sometimes, the immune system cannot recognize the body parts. The white blood cells identify the synovial membrane that is covering the joint as a foreign material. These cells will start attacking the membrane and cause inflammation. There are more chances of getting this disease if you have a family history.

Posttraumatic Arthritis

When you are young, an injury can repair with ease. At an old age, it is difficult to repair the injury because of weakness in repair efficiently. In the case of sports or accidents, a person may suffer due to post-traumatic arthritis. You may suffer due to pain and inflammation for a long after the injury. In case of a shoulder injury, you may have to manage many years with it.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

It is a different type of disease. It occurs when there is a tear in the shoulder joint. The humerus joint ball cannot rotate fully due to it. This ball will create friction in the joint and other parts of the shoulder. When there is a rotator cuff tear arthropathy, you may have to repair it surgically. If the rotator cuff tear is due to a degenerative disease, it is difficult to solve the issue using the surgical procedure also.

Avascular Necrosis

The shoulder is a complex joint and receives blood supply continuously. It is essential to maintain the blood supply towards the bones in the shoulder to prevent bone collapse. In avascular necrosis, the blood supply is cut off from the shoulder bones for a short time or permanently. The bone will die from inside and stop the repair of the joint. At the start, there will be no symptoms. After the progression of the disease, the pain may go from mild to severe even when you are in resting condition.


There are two types of symptoms of shoulder arthritis. The first symptom is shoulder pain. If the joint between the humerus and scapula is affected, the pain will go to the back of the shoulder. In the scapula and clavicle joint arthritis, the pain will radiate to the side of the neck. In rheumatoid arthritis, both joints are usually affected. It can cause pain in the whole shoulder. The pain starts with minor aches. It can lead to severe pain if not managed properly. Limited motion is another consequence of this disease because most patients cannot lift their arms fully in these cases. Joint inflammation is also a cause of limited motion.

When to see a doctor

There is no need to see a doctor if you feel mild pain in your shoulder without inflammation. This pain should go away within two weeks if you had a mild injury. If the pain does not go away even after two weeks, you should visit the doctor's clinic. There is no urgency if you have mild pain. It is essential to go to the doctor immediately if you have sharp pain in both shoulders. If your body temperature is high with shoulder pain, you should go to the doctor quickly.

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