Guide to rotator cuff tear

The Rotator Cuff Tear: A Detailed Overview

The rotator cuff is a crucial group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder that provides stability and allows for a wide range of motion. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of these tendons are damaged, leading to pain, weakness, and a limited range of motion in the affected shoulder.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a common injury that can result from either a sudden injury or long-term wear and tear. The tear may be partial or complete, depending on the extent of the damage to the tendons. This injury can significantly impact the shoulder’s function, affecting daily activities and overall quality of life.

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?

The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear can vary, but common signs include persistent shoulder pain, especially when lifting or lowering the arm, weakness in the shoulder, and a noticeable decrease in the range of motion. Individuals may also have trouble sleeping on the affected side and a clicking or popping sensation when using the shoulder.

How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed?

To diagnose a rotator cuff tear, your London Shoulder Specialist will typically perform a thorough physical examination, evaluating the range of motion, strength, and stability of the shoulder. Imaging tests such as MRI or ultrasound may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the tear.

Are there different types of rotator cuff tears?

Rotator cuff tears can be classified into two main types: partial thickness tears, where only a portion of the tendon is torn, and full-thickness tears, where the tendon is completely severed. The location and size of the tear can influence the choice of treatment.

What are the treatment options for a rotator cuff tear?

Treatment options for rotator cuff tears vary based on the severity of the injury. Non-surgical approaches may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and modified activity to allow for healing. For more severe tears, surgical intervention may be recommended to repair or reattach the torn tendons.

Can rotator cuff tears be treated non-surgically?

Non-surgical treatments focus on relieving symptoms and restoring shoulder function through physical therapy exercises, pain management, and activity modification. While this approach may not be suitable for all cases, it can be effective in addressing mild to moderate tears.

What is the recovery time after rotator cuff surgery?

Recovery time after rotator cuff surgery varies depending on the extent of the tear and the type of procedure performed. In general, rehabilitation involves a gradual progression of exercises to restore strength and flexibility. It may take several months before patients regain full function, and adherence to post-operative care instructions is critical for a successful recovery.

Can a rotator cuff tear recur after treatment?

While surgical intervention can effectively repair a torn rotator cuff, there is a risk of recurrence, especially if proper rehabilitation guidelines are not followed. Additionally, ongoing stress on the shoulder from repetitive activities or traumatic injuries may contribute to the development of new tears over time.

Is there any way to prevent rotator cuff tears?

Preventing rotator cuff tears involves maintaining shoulder health through regular exercise, proper body mechanics, and avoiding overuse. Strengthening the muscles around the shoulder, incorporating stretching into a fitness routine, and using proper lifting techniques can help reduce the risk of injury. Regular check-ups can also identify and address any potential issues before they escalate.

A rotator cuff tear can significantly impact shoulder function and quality of life. Early recognition of symptoms, prompt diagnosis, and appropriate treatment – whether surgical or non-surgical – are essential for achieving optimal outcomes. Additionally, adopting preventive measures can contribute to maintaining overall shoulder health and reducing the risk of rotator cuff tears.

Rising Demand for Shoulder Replacements

Rising Demand for Shoulder Replacements

Several studies conducted in Europe and the US are showing that shoulder replacement surgery is on the rise. In England, it is predicted that total shoulder replacements will increase by 234% by 2050. Similar trends in rising shoulder arthroplasties are being reported elsewhere.

Usually required for the treatment of advanced shoulder arthritis later in life, patients can normally expect positive results from shoulder surgery, with reduced pain and improved mobility.

So what is causing the rise in shoulder operations? Here, we look at the recent research and potential causes of this sharp increase in demand.

Rising reverse shoulder arthroplasty volumes

One review of in-patient statistics in Germany, between 2010 and 2019, found that the procedural volume of primary shoulder arthroplasties increased by approximately 14% each year. In the US, another study found that shoulder arthroplasties increased by 104% between 2011 and 2017. This is outpacing the rise in demand for total hip arthroplasty as well as total knee replacements. So why are shoulder replacements going up more sharply?

Certainly, with an ageing population comes the increased incidence of age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, degenerative joint diseases as well as injuries including fractures. The German review showed the most significant increases over time came from fracture-related arthroplasties, as well as osteoarthritis-related procedures.

In recent years, newer, longer-lasting implant materials and, in particular, the use of reverse total shoulder arthroplasties, has led to even higher demand – especially when dealing with additional fracture-related scenarios.

What is reverse total shoulder arthroplasty?

Usually, a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is reserved for patients aged over 70 years old that have debilitating arthritis or functional problems, when their rotator cuff has become irreparably deficient and unstable. The procedure is also used to treat complex humerus fractures.

In the surgery, the ball and socket are switched around, so the ball sits on the shoulder blade and the socket on the arm bone. By moving the centre of rotation more medially and lower down, it restores balance when the rotator cuff is failing to balance the pull of the deltoid muscle. With restored shoulder function, patients are able to comfortably raise their arm again. Furthermore, it can help treat the agonising pain that accompanies shoulder arthritis.

What are my treatment options?

There are several different non-surgical treatment options for shoulder arthritis for reducing pain and improving movement. Simple lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, medications, steroid injections and physical therapies can all be effective treatments. By discussing your options with a shoulder specialist, the right treatment plan, sometimes including one or more of these treatments, can be chosen for you.

Usually, only when non-surgical treatments are not successful, will a shoulder arthroscopy or a total shoulder replacement be recommended. A shoulder replacement involves removing damaged parts of the shoulder and replacing them with artificial parts. This can help to relieve shoulder pain and allow you to resume everyday activities.

To find out more about shoulder surgery or to discuss a personalised treatment plan, get in touch with the London Shoulder Specialist

diabetes and shoulder conditions

Diabetes and Shoulder Conditions

When you have diabetes, having high blood glucose levels can lead to serious health conditions, including eye problems, foot problems and nerve damage. A lesser known but common diabetes complication is musculoskeletal disease, often causing shoulder pain.

Research suggests that shoulder disorders in diabetics is 27.5%, compared with 5% for those without diabetes. Diabetes is also one of the most common causes of adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder.

As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, here we get to the root of why shoulder conditions are often experienced by patients with diabetes.

Shoulder conditions linked with diabetes

Although further research is needed into exactly how diabetes causes shoulder conditions, there are associated mechanisms of the disease. Hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar, is linked to the formation of advanced glycosylation end‐products (AGEs). The combination of these AGEs with collagen proteins found in tendons and ligaments, affects, and compromises their structure, causing them to thicken. This thickening of the tendons makes them weaker, also causing stiffness and pain.

Another symptom of hyperglycaemia is chronic inflammation, which together with tendon stiffness in the glenohumeral joint can lead to capsular fibrosis, resulting in frozen shoulder syndrome. Also, with the formation of AGEs, alongside inflammation and impaired circulation, the rotator cuff is more susceptible to injury and the tendon is more prone to tearing.

Treating shoulder damage caused by diabetes

One of the key ways to avoid shoulder complications with diabetes is to keep it under control. Lowering your blood sugar with lifestyle changes including exercise and diet can prevent tendon problems.

Symptoms caused by a frozen shoulder can vary, but it can be extremely painful, affecting quality of life. Typically, it lasts up to nine months, but it can last the duration of diabetes – making it essential to improve and maintain control of blood sugars. Usually, treatment options are conservative and can include painkillers, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and steroid injections for reducing the inflammation. If conservative management is unsuccessful, then surgery may be recommended. This may be an arthroscopic capsular release or manipulation of the shoulder joint.

If rotator cuff disease is diagnosed, then a similar conservative treatment approach as with frozen shoulder can be undertaken. Importantly, managing blood sugar levels can help to prevent further damage. If there is a complete tear of the tendon and surgery is needed, it is important to recognise that there can be a higher risk of complications with diabetes.

Help for your shoulder condition

If you have diabetes and are experiencing shoulder pain that is affecting your everyday life, or if your range of mobility in your shoulder is limited, then it is advisable to get a confirmed diagnosis.

During your consultation with your London Shoulder Specialist, they will discuss your medical history and can organise scans to investigate the extent of any shoulder damage. They can organise a personalised treatment plan for your shoulder condition, working alongside your diabetes management.

The right time for a shoulder replacement

When is it the Right Time to Have a Shoulder Replacement?

We probably never think how often we use our shoulder until they start to hurt. But, when discomfort and lack of mobility is starting to prevent you from enjoying even simple daily activities and pain is keeping you up at night, then it might be time to have a shoulder replacement.

Recently, TV Presenter Fern Britton, opened up about her recent shoulder replacement. The 66-year-old had been experiencing ongoing pain from arthritis. The previous year she had told Woman & Home: ‘I’ve got arthritis settling in everywhere. My knee is really bad and so is my shoulder.”

Here we consider when the right time is to choose shoulder replacement surgery, and what it involves. Also, when to seek professional guidance for your shoulder condition.

When is a shoulder replacement required?

Although sometimes a shoulder replacement may be needed after an injury, it is usually required to treat advanced shoulder arthritis. This painful condition is caused by ongoing wear and tear of the shoulder joint. It can affect people later in life, when the protective layer of cartilage in the joint has thinned, causing bones to rub together. When there is constant pain, stiffness and loss of mobility, affecting everyday life, it is time to consider a shoulder replacement.

Although most cases of osteoarthritis are treated with surgery, several factors will all need to be taken into consideration. These include age, lifestyle as well as the level of activity you will return to after surgery.

What alternatives are there for pain relief?

Fern Britton managed her arthritis pain with painkillers and weekly yoga sessions, before she decided it was time for shoulder replacement surgery. But, there are other treatment options for shoulder arthritis.

A shoulder specialist can help assess the shoulder and determine whether a total shoulder replacement is necessary. However, depending on your circumstances, non-surgical options may be recommended first to help manage the condition.

Options like anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections into the joint, or minimally invasive debridement surgery can be very successful for relieving symptoms.

What is involved in a shoulder replacement?

A shoulder replacement will replace the damaged joint cartilage with artificial components. The damaged cartilage will be removed from the shoulder, and new artificial components will be added to the ball and socket joint. A metal stem will be used to attach the arm bone to the ball, and the socket is replaced with a plastic cup. They are fixed into place with bone cement.

After surgery, physical therapy is required to regain strength in the shoulder. Normally, full shoulder movement is regained after six weeks.

If in doubt, check with a shoulder specialist

If you are experiencing shoulder pain that is affecting your everyday life, or if your range of mobility in your shoulder is limited, then it is a good idea to get a confirmed diagnosis. If you have already been diagnosed with shoulder arthritis, then it may be time for a shoulder replacement.

To find out more about shoulder replacement surgery and whether it is right for you, get in touch with the London Shoulder Specialists.

5 different types of shoulder arthritis

Managing the 5 Different Types of Shoulder Arthritis

It’s National Arthritis Week in October and a recent study published in The Lancet Rheumatology has projected that nearly 1 billion people will be living with osteoarthritis by 2050. Usually affecting people over the age of 45, it is a common form of arthritis that can affect people at any age.

Many people experience osteoarthritis in the shoulder, but there are five types of shoulder arthritis in total. All types of shoulder arthritis affect the surface of the joint, causing some common symptoms.

Here we’ll look at the different types of shoulder arthritis, along with ways to manage arthritic shoulder conditions.

Shoulder osteoarthritis

Shoulder osteoarthritis is the most common form of shoulder arthritis, associated with wear and tear of the shoulder joint. There can be one or more contributing factors to shoulder osteoarthritis.

Genetics, micro trauma as well as increased forces across the joint, sometimes caused by sporting/occupational activities, can contribute. But also, as the body ages, the protective layer of cartilage wears away, enabling the bones to rub together on movement. This can cause joint pain, discomfort and limited range of movement.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Also called inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causing both chronic joint and joint lining inflammation. Similar to osteoarthritis, this leads to wearing away of the shoulder joint cartilage.

Symptoms include tiredness and stiffness in the shoulder, particularly on waking up. Also, shoulder tenderness and bumps under the skin in the shoulder. There are now more advanced non-surgical treatments for this type of arthritis.

Post-traumatic arthritis

Usually resulting from a shoulder injury, involving a fracture of the ball or the socket, post-traumatic arthritis can occur when the cartilage is damaged at the same time. Post-traumatic arthritis results in fluid accumulation in the joint, causing considerable pain and discomfort.

Avascular Necrosis

Also called osteonecrosis, this unusual type of arthritis is a progressive disease that results in the death of bone joint tissue. An injury or illness, usually a sudden dislocation or fracture, causes a problem with the blood supply to the joint. This causes damage to a section of the bone and the overlying cartilage.

Rotator cuff tear arthropathy

Rotator cuff tear arthropathy usually occurs with overuse or accidents, involving a large tear of the large rotator cuff tendon. Treatment can be more challenging than with the other forms of arthritis as it involves the joint surface as well as the soft tissue that supports the joint.

Managing shoulder arthritis

There are different treatment options for shoulder arthritis for reducing pain and improving movement. Lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, dietary supplements and different therapies, including steroid injections, can all be effective treatments. By discussing your options with a shoulder specialist, the right treatment plan, sometimes including one or more of these treatments, can be chosen for you.

Usually, if non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, then a shoulder arthroscopy or a total shoulder replacement may be recommended. However, for those with rotator cuff tear arthropathy, then a reverse total shoulder replacement might be required.

To discuss treatment options for shoulder arthritis and for a personalised treatment plan, get in touch with the London Shoulder Specialists.

surgery and exercise after shoulder dislocation

Surgery and Exercise Combined Most Effective After Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulders are the most dislocated joint and occur when your upper arm bone or humerus becomes wholly or partially detached from the scapula or shoulder bone. It is a common injury seen at A&E as it usually occurs after a heavy fall, such as a ski accident, or an impact on the shoulder, experienced in contact sports like rugby.

The shoulder can dislocate either forwards, backwards or downwards – forward or anterior dislocation is the most common and accounts for up to 97% of cases. The symptoms of a dislocated shoulder are felt immediately and usually extremely painful. Often, you’ll see an obvious deformity in the shoulder joint with swelling and bruising. Any movement is uncomfortable.

Men are much more likely to experience a shoulder dislocation and, if a shoulder has dislocated once, it is much more likely to recur. This can lead to shoulder instability and eventually may result in osteoarthritis.

Diagnosis of a shoulder dislocation is made by a physical examination and X-rays for diagnosis and to rule out a fracture.

Shoulder dislocation management typically compromises a period of rest and immobilisation of the shoulder in a sling. A structured rehabilitation programme then follows this.

A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has reviewed the effectiveness of exercise in preventing further dislocation and aid in returning to full activity.

Combining surgery and exercise after a shoulder dislocation

The authors reviewed studies into shoulder dislocations that covered exercise as a standalone treatment and exercise as part of post-surgery shoulder dislocation management.

They found that after an initial shoulder dislocation, exercise combined with surgery is more effective at reducing the risk of a further shoulder dislocation than exercise alone. It was also a more successful approach to facilitating a return to work or sports.

For more advice on your surgical options after a shoulder dislocation, call xxx to arrange a consultation with one of the London Shoulder Specialists.

rugby shoulder injuries

Sidelined by a Shoulder Injury? Preventing and Managing Rugby Shoulder Injuries

It is inevitable that in the high energy and high contact sport of rugby, the shoulder is prone to injuries. The forces transmitted to your shoulder in rugby can be tremendous, and injuries can be serious.

Although shoulder injuries are less common than head, neck or lower limb injuries in rugby, they tend to be among the more severe. One study found over half of rugby shoulder injuries are severe, often requiring surgery.

Here we look at common rugby shoulder injuries, ways to help prevent them occurring and managing shoulder injury on the sidelines for a confident return to the game.

Common rugby shoulder injuries

The shoulder joint is a unique and complex joint, containing many elements that control stability as well as mobility. The demands of rugby can affect many of these structures, with dislocations and instability causing the most serious injuries and time out of play.

Studies have shown that rugby tackles contribute to circa 70% of rugby injuries – affecting the tackler as well as the ‘tacklee’. The shoulder damage caused will depend on the position of the arm during the tackle. Tackling injuries can include labrum tears, as well as SLAP tears affecting the biceps tendon at the top of the shoulder, or sometimes dislocation.

One study involving English professional Rugby Football Union clubs, found that nearly a third of shoulder injuries are Acromioclavicular Joint Separations (or AC Joint sprains). This normally involves falling onto an outstretched arm, and ranges from mild to severe.

Can you prevent rugby shoulder injuries?

It’s not always possible to prevent a rugby injury. However, a rigorous strength and training programme can help protect the shoulder from avoidable injuries. Although collisions between rugby players will happen, a strong core, a stable trunk as well as neck and shoulder strength can all provide good resistance. It is also worthwhile enhancing your rugby skills and technique with the help of a coach.

It is important to recognise any shoulder weaknesses, possibly caused by previous injuries, as these can lead to future issues. Seeking advice as soon as you experience shoulder pain can help any injury from worsening. If you are not sure, consider a shoulder MOT with a shoulder specialist, to check everything is in working order.

Managing rugby shoulder injuries

Most rugby injuries, including AC Joint sprains will not require surgery, but usually involve rest, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. This will normally be determined by a thorough physical examination by a shoulder specialist with the support of imaging to assess the severity of damage.

If other non-surgical treatments have been unsuccessful, surgery may be offered to repair labral tears, for example a SLAP tear repair. This is performed by keyhole surgery, after which a sling will be worn for up to six weeks. It can take up to 12 months involving physical therapy for a full recovery. For dislocations where there is continuing instability, shoulder surgery may be required to repair torn structures in the joint.

If you have a rugby-related shoulder concern that is preventing you from playing at your best, get in touch with The London Shoulder Specialists to arrange a consultation. To book an appointment, call +44 (0) 203 195 2442.

failed shoulder surgery

What are the Symptoms of a Failed Shoulder Surgery?

When you undergo a shoulder surgery procedure, it is important to know the risks. By setting goals for what you expect to achieve from the surgery with the help of an experienced surgeon, together you can determine whether the surgery was a success or not.

If non-surgical treatments have not successfully treated your shoulder symptoms, then surgery may be required. Usually, this will be performed by open surgery or by shoulder arthroscopy (keyhole surgery). According to a review, these carry between a 5% and 30% failure rate.

So, what are the main symptoms of a failed shoulder surgery? What are the main causes? And, what happens next? Read on…

Symptoms of a failed shoulder surgery

Symptoms of a failed shoulder surgery will vary by the type of surgery, the individual as well as the surgeon and their technique. Certainly, some swelling and discomfort is to be expected following surgery. However, when symptoms linger on, or if the same symptoms experienced before surgery reappear after full recovery time, they can be an indication of a failed surgery.

Typical symptoms of a failed shoulder surgery can include:

  • Persistent pain in the joint that does not improve with medication
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Reduced mobility around the shoulder
  • Muscle weakness or atrophy
  • Popping, grinding or clicking sounds on moving the joint

Causes of failed shoulder surgery

Normally, the main goals set by a surgeon carrying out shoulder surgery will be to reduce pain and swelling, restore range of movement in the joint, improve strength, and restore function.

According to one study, more than 80% of surgical failures for shoulder instability are associated with bone loss. Also, soft tissue quality and soft tissue lesions can affect the surgery’s success. Additionally, dense scar tissue can cause symptoms, but also new injuries to the shoulder after surgery. Another factor is the experience of the surgeon, as there is always the risk of a technical error.

Revision surgeries carry a higher risk of failure and can lead to more functional complications. However, it can depend how much damage the joint has sustained. In some cases, there is no obvious cause and your surgeon may organise imaging to check the bones and tissues around the shoulder.

Treating failed shoulder surgeries

Procedures may be carried out on the rotator cuff, the labrum or the biceps tendon – that all carry different failure rates, with different treatment options. For example, a severe rotator cuff tear treated by arthroscopic repair requires commitment to a rehab plan that can take up to 12 months.

Failure of tendon healing is common, sometimes due to biological reasons, or inappropriate post-operative rehab. For patients limited by pain, a revision surgery, either keyhole or open surgery may be indicated. In a young person with a repairable lesion, this can lead to improved function of the shoulder. However, the risk of a retear may be high. Alternatively, conservative treatment options may be used to treat failed rotator cuff surgery – particularly when treating poor range of motion.

If you have questions about shoulder surgery, or if you’ve experienced a failed shoulder surgery, get in touch with the London Shoulder Specialists to arrange a consultation. They can carry out a physical assessment and can recommend treatment options tailored to you.

shoulder replacement risks

Higher Surgeon Volume Means Lower Risks for Patients After Shoulder Replacements

A recent review published in the British Medical Journal indicates that choosing a surgeon for your shoulder replacement who carries out more than 10 surgeries a year can lead to better results.

Shoulder replacement patients treated by surgeons with higher yearly volumes reported lower risk of revision surgeries and serious complications, as well as shorter hospital stays.

Here we look at the research findings, why it comes at such a critical time and the risks associated with a shoulder replacement procedure.

Elective shoulder replacement surgery – the data

There are now over 8,000 shoulder replacements carried out every year in the UK. With an ageing population, this number is expected to rise significantly.

Researchers used data from the UK’s National Joint Registry and Hospital Episode Statistics for England. They reviewed 39,281 shoulder replacement procedures undertaken by 638 consultant surgeons between 2012 and 2020.

Specifically, the team explored the link between surgeon volume and a range of outcomes following shoulder replacement surgery. This included the effect on serious adverse events, reoperations, and prolonged hospital stays (more than three nights). With surgeons performing under 10.4 procedures yearly, patients faced a higher risk of revision surgery – in some cases twice the risk as those surgeons performing over this amount!

This new data, highlighting better outcomes with high volume surgeons, mimics findings from more extensive hip and knee replacements data.

How risky is shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery is usually required when there is severe osteoarthritis affecting the shoulder joint. After exploring non-surgical options, surgery is recommended to treat the symptoms of pain, stiffness and loss of mobility, to help improve a patient’s quality of life.

Generally, complications from shoulder surgery are quite rare and will depend on your individual circumstances, medical history and severity of the condition. Sometimes, a new shoulder injury may weaken the supporting muscles or loosen the implant causing pain and stiffness. However, revision surgery may be required when complications do arise.

Questions to ask your shoulder surgeon

As well as asking how many shoulder replacement procedures your surgeon has performed in the last year and their success and revision rates, it is important to ask what potential complications you can expect. It is also important to ask what the alternatives are to having a shoulder replacement and what happens if you don’t have surgery at this time.

To learn more about shoulder replacement surgery, please get in touch to arrange a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists.

Shoulder bursitis vs arthritis

Shoulder Bursitis vs Arthritis: What’s the Difference?

Shoulder bursitis and shoulder arthritis are both painful conditions affecting the shoulder joint. Although the symptoms of these conditions can be similar, they affect different structures of the shoulder and have different causes.

Treatments for these conditions depend on the origin, location and severity of symptoms. But as people can mistake the symptoms of bursitis for arthritis, it is important to get a confirmed diagnosis with a shoulder specialist to determine the most effective treatment plan.

Here we look at these two common shoulder conditions and the differences between them.

Shoulder bursitis

Shoulder bursitis is a common cause of shoulder pain, and the most common type of bursitis. It is caused by inflammation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that surround the shoulder joint – normally affecting the subacromial bursae. These cushion the area between the rotator cuff tendons and the acromion, allowing structures like tendons and bones to glide without friction when you lift your arm.

Usually a chronic condition, shoulder bursitis is often accompanied by tendinopathy of the rotator cuff tendons. It is normally an overuse injury, but it can be caused by an accident, infection or pre-existing condition such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Overhead activities become difficult to perform with this condition, and pain is typically worse at night. Other symptoms of shoulder bursitis are:

  • pain around the outside or tip of the shoulder
  • tenderness upon touching the shoulder
  • reduced range of movement in the shoulder joint
  • inflammation around the shoulder
  • shoulder pain when the arm is raised

Typical treatment for shoulder bursitis involves rest, icing, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Steroid injections into the inflamed bursae can also give some temporary pain relief. Full recovery from bursitis is normally achieved, but if symptoms worsen or don’t improve with treatment then surgery may be recommended to remove the damaged tissue.

How is bursitis different from shoulder arthritis?

Arthritis can occur anywhere in the body, but arthritis of the shoulder occurs at the Glenohumeral (large ball and socket joint) or the smaller acromioclavicular joint. Normally, this is osteoarthritis caused by wear and tear – typically affecting older patients. But there is also rheumatoid arthritis, which is a swelling of the synovium lining.

Shoulder arthritis affects the bones and cartilage but can cause some similar symptoms to shoulder bursitis. These include joint pain, inflammation and shoulder stiffness. Causes of shoulder arthritis differ to bursitis, with predetermining factors including age, excess weight, autoimmune diseases, and genes. However, it can also be caused by an injury or through repeated overhead activities.

The non-surgical treatment options for shoulder arthritis are similar to bursitis and can include ice or heat therapy, pain medication and physical therapy. For advanced osteoarthritis, surgery may be advised in the form of a total shoulder replacement.

To determine the cause of your shoulder pain, get in touch with the London Shoulder Specialists to arrange a consultation. They can carry out a physical assessment and organise imaging tests to identify the affected joint and can recommend treatment options tailored to you.