Remember last week’s post? Dr. Kowalsky ended the last installment with listing a multiple options one could take to repair a rotator cuff tear due to the fact that it is very unlikely for the condition to heal on its own. The following is a more in depth description of what makes up this part of the body and what to do after the symptoms of arthritis of the shoulder appear.
The glenohumeral joint of the shoulder includes the humeral head, or ball, and the glenoid, or shallow socket. Both joint surfaces are coated with articular cartilage, the pearly-white, smooth surface that allows near friction-free, painless movement of one surface on another. Typical wear-and-tear osteoarthritis occurs due to the degeneration of the joint surface. As the articular cartilage erodes, the underlying bone can become exposed, change in shape, and create symptoms. Patients typically present with pain deep within the joint. The pain can be associated with mechanical symptoms, such as catching, clicking, or grinding, as well as loss of motion. For some patients, typically those with mild or moderate arthritis, there is a role for conservative management.
However, the most reliable means for pain relief, improved motion and function for patients with moderate or severe arthritis is shoulder replacement. This procedure is performed by removing and replacing the arthritic ball with a metal implant, and by resurfacing the socket with a plastic implant, restoring low-friction, pain-free motion. Implant design and surgical technique for the treatment of both rotator cuff tears and shoulder arthritis continue to evolve. These innovations empower shoulder and elbow surgeons to individualize the treatment plan to a specific patient and problem.
Tonight, March 12 at 6:30 pm at Greenwich Hospital, Dr. Kowalsky will give a health talk on “Common Causes and Solutions to Chronic Shoulder Pain” will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of rotator cuff tears and shoulder arthritis. The event will highlight important recent advances in the management of these conditions that have been associated with improved long-term outcomes.