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.