Dr. Steinmann describes the treatment options for shoulder arthritis.
Shoulder arthritis can be treated with exercises. I think it’s reasonable to try that as a first line of treatment, taking oral pain medicine. A lot of patients, as they develop shoulder arthritis, they may not use that arm as much, a lot of it is unconscious and so it will get a little stiff just on it’s own. So I think it’s reasonable and I encourage patients to try and work with the therapist to try and increase their range of motion, work on non-operative means to get their shoulder moving.
I think it’s always a good idea, with any arthritis, to see if you can help the patient through by non-operative means before you start discussing potential surgical options for the shoulder or elbow or hand. So I think its reasonable to try the usual mainstay treatments of oral pain medicine.
Occasionally, we do also injections of the shoulder, I think that’s fine, and exercises and follow the patient along. It’s, surgery for shoulder arthritis is not something we should rush into. I think the patient should have a good idea and a good understand that their pain is truly not getting better, that it affects their activities they truly enjoy doing and then, that would be the time to sit down and discuss surgical options with the patient.
About Dr. Steinmann, M.D.:
Dr. Scott P. Steinmann, M.D., is on orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center in Minnesota. Dr. Steinmann received his medical training from Cornell University Medical College in New York, completed his residency in orthopedics at New York Orthopedic Hospital and completed a fellowships focusing on the shoulder and hand surgery from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine respectively.