Skip to main content

Based on current COVID-19 positivity rates, visitation is allowed until further notice.
Call (631) 548-6853 or click here for more information.

Common Causes of Shoulder Arthritis

Jan 14, 2020

The shoulders are the most flexible joints in the body. Composed of three bones—the humerus, the scapula, and the clavicle—there are actually two joints in each shoulder. There’s the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is where the clavicle meets the shoulder blade, and the glenohumeral joint, where the humerus interacts with the scapula. Both joints undergo a lot of stress over a person’s life, making them vulnerable to arthritis. Here are some of the causes of arthritis that might require you to seek treatment at an orthopedic clinic in Suffolk County, NY.

Wear and Tear

After a number of years of regular use, the cartilage that provides the smooth covering between bones can wear away. In the process, it will become rough and frayed and will no longer provide the protection the joint needs. Without the cartilage, bones will rub up against each other, resulting in extreme pain. Arthritis that results from this sort of long-term wear and tear is known as osteoarthritis. It’s common in people over the age of 50 and is more likely to affect the AC joint than the glenohumeral joint.

Chronic Disease

A common type of arthritis that is the result of a disease instead of behavior or an accident is rheumatoid arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues. This can result in arthritis occurring in several parts of the body. In RA, the disease causes the lining that covers the joints in the body—known as synovium—to swell, causing pain and stiffness. Because it’s what’s known as a symmetrical disease, it will usually impact both shoulders at once, and should be treated by orthopedic care specialists.


There are injuries that can take place in the shoulder that lead to the development of arthritis. A severe tear in the rotator cuff, for instance, can result in a condition known as rotator cuff tear arthropathy. Unable to hold the head of the humerus in place, the humerus will rub up against the surface of the shoulder blade (acromion), fraying the surfaces of the bones and leading to arthritis. The combination of the rotator cuff tear and the severe arthritis can be extremely painful and limiting, even making it impossible for the patient to lift the arm to the side. Another type of arthritis, posttraumatic arthritis, is caused instead by either a fracture or shoulder dislocation. Peconic Bay Medical Center_Common Causes of Shoulder Arthritis_IMAGE2.jpeg

Lack of Blood Supply

When the blood flow to the shoulder is interrupted for a length of time, bone cells in the affected area will start to die off, resulting in avascular necrosis (AVN). As the blood-starved bone collapses, the cartilage is damaged, resulting in arthritis.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of shoulder arthritis, visit Peconic Bay Medical Center. As the leading orthopedic center in Suffolk County, NY, we can provide you with the treatment you need for a better quality of life. Make an appointment today.