Arthritis (wear and tear) is not as common in the shoulder as it is in other joints, such as the knee and hip. However, when it arises, it can cause significant pain, especially at night time and it can restrict the amount of movement in the shoulder. It can usually be diagnosed with a specialist shoulder examination and x-ray. Occasionally a CT scan may be required to assess the severity of the arthritis and to plan for possible surgery. An ultrasound scan of the shoulder is also occasionally used to check that the tendons of the shoulder are still working.
If the joint is painful and restricted, then a shoulder replacement may be required. This replaces the worn out bones with a metal and specialised plastic replacement. The Exeter Shoulder surgeons perform around 50 of these replacements every year. A one or two night stay in hospital is usually required and the recovery period takes 3 to 4 months (click to read more about recovery). If the tendons in the shoulder are torn, then a special shoulder procedure called a reverse shoulder replacement is used. This has been designed to take into account that the normal muscles around the shoulder are not working.