Like any other joint in the body the shoulder joint can be affected by arthritis. The common types of arthritis are

  • Osteoarthritis (Wear and Tear type of arthritis)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most patients present with pain in the shoulder joint, which is made worse on attempted movements of the shoulder joint. Along with pain there is restriction of shoulder movements, which may lead to restriction of day to day activities.


Plain XRay- A plain XRay is sufficient to diagnose arthritis.
However further scans like an MRI and a CT scan may be needed to get further information especially if surgery is planned.


Painkillers- Initial treatment includes use of painkillers and Anti-inflammatory medication.

Injections- Injection of steroid and local anaesthetic may help in the early stages of the condition.

Physiotherapy- Physiotherapy aims to improve range of motion and strength of muscles around the shoulder.

Surgery- if non-operative measures as mentioned above fail to control the symptoms, then surgical intervention may be required.

Total shoulder replacement

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic. Usually the anaesthetist may also use an injection in your neck region to numb the nerves around the shoulder nerve to control postoperative pain.

The operation is done through a cut at the front of the shoulder and involves replacing the ball of the shoulder joint with a metal or ceramic ball. The socket is replaced with a plastic socket.

Post operatively the arm is immobilized in a sling for about 3 weeks. However, physiotherapy is started the day after surgery, and patients are discharged in 1-2 days after operation. Driving- You should be able to drive about 6-8 weeks after operation.


Shoulder replacement is an effective procedure for pain relief in the shoulder. Range of motion is also improved and most patients can return to most day to day activities. However the range of motion after the operation depends on a number of factors including preoperative range of motion, and the state of muscles of the rotator cuff.


The risk of complications after a shoulder replacement is small and includes the following.

  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Dislocation
  • Loosening of the artificial joint needing revision surgery