About Shoulder Arthritis

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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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 Symptoms:

  • 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 OPA specialists make an official diagnosis, they prescribe a customized treatment plan based on your unique lifestyle and activity level. Because arthritis is a chronic condition, meaning it cannot be cured, treatment is focused on decreasing symptoms and preventing the condition from becoming worse

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:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Oral and topical medications that decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain.

Physical Therapy

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


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

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.

At OPA, our Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Orthopedic Surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating shoulder arthritis.

If you are experiencing symptoms of shoulder arthritis and would like a treatment solution you should contact OPA to schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations in Anchorage and Eagle River.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Shoulder Team

(click a provider to view profile)

Owen Ala, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Deryk Anderson, DO

Orthopedic Specialist

Tucker Drury, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Adam Ellison, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Robert Hall, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Christopher Manion, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Jeff Moore, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Eli Powell, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Greg Schweiger, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.


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