shoulder arthritis Perth

Shoulder arthritis Perth

Everything you need to know about shoulder arthritis

Table of Contents

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Shoulder arthritis symptoms

Could I have shoulder arthritis?

Generally, arthritis describes joint inflammation. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, arthritis may be the underlying cause. 

There are several types of arthritis that can affect your shoulder joint, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. In other words, you can get it from regular wear and tear linked to your active lifestyle, from disease or illness, or from direct trauma injuries.

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of shoulder pain and is characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage in your joint.

Post-traumatic arthritis can occur after an injury to your shoulder joint, such as a fracture or dislocation.

Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, including the shoulder.
Your shoulders are some of the most sophisticated and complicated joints of your body. They are also some of the most “freely moveable areas in your entire body” so they may encounter a lot of wear and tear throughout your life. When you have shoulder arthritis you may feel joint pain and experience limited range of motion. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of shoulder arthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Yet, there are two more types of arthritis.
Dr Sven Goebel, Shoulder Arthritis Perth Specialist
shoulder arthritis Perth

Rotator cuff tear arthropathy is a type of shoulder arthritis that occurs as a result of a rotator cuff tear.

Avascular necrosis of the shoulder (AVN) is a condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to the bone. This can cause the bone to die, leading to pain and joint dysfunction.

Shoulder arthritis symptoms

Although there are different types of arthritis of the shoulder, they all have some common symptoms such as

  • joint pain in the shoulder,
  • swelling
  • and eventually loss of range of motion.

Shoulder arthritis Perth specialist and surgeon

How is shoulder arthritis diagnosed?

Shoulder arthritis is usually diagnosed by a characteristic history of slowly worsening pain, increasing stiffness and muscle wasting/weakness. X-rays are the most important imaging modality, ultrasound scans are less helpful than MRI scans. 

During consultation I will physically examine your shoulder. I will check the range of motion and strength of your shoulder. That, in combination with your history and imaging results, will lead to a diagnosis. If you have shoulder pain, it’s important to see a specialist. If you’re in doubt about a previous shoulder pain diagnosis, I am more than happy to see you for a second opinion.

Dr Sven Goebel, Shoulder Arthritis Perth Specialist

Shoulder arthritis treatment Perth

Surgery for shoulder arthritis?

The good news is: shoulder arthritis is treatable! Often people ask me what first-line treatment is recommended. I always reply: shoulder arthritis treatment depends on four things.

  • The type and severity of shoulder arthritis,
  • Your age,
  • Your activity level,
  • Your symptoms.

Non-surgical treatment options for a shoulder arthritis

  • Physical therapy exercises can help improve your range of motion, strength, and function in the shoulder.
  • Medications like over-the counter painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe other pain medications if needed.
  • If you’re in severe pain, intra-articular injections of cortisone or hyaluronic acid can help relieve your symptoms.
  • Changing or avoiding certain activities that cause pain or discomfort may help to reduce symptoms.

Shoulder arthritis surgery

When to see an orthopaedic surgeon for shoulder pain? If non-surgical treatment fails, shoulder arthritis surgery is your best option to relieve symptoms.

  • Shoulder arthroscopy: Arthroscopic or keyhole surgery can be offered if you are younger than 50 years and have relatively mild arthritis. Removal of loose bits of cartilage or release of scar tissue is usually performed this way.
  • Shoulder replacement surgery: Also called arthroplasty, joint replacement of the shoulder is recommended for advanced shoulder arthritis. It involves replacing the parts of your shoulder that are damaged by arthritis with an artificial prosthetic joint. There are two types of shoulder replacements currently performed with good success, the “anatomic” shoulder replacement and the “reverse” shoulder replacement.

Shoulder arthritis surgery recovery time

What happens after surgery?

During your consultation, I will explain which exercises you can do for optimal recovery.

Depending on the type of surgery, I recommend to respect these timelines:

Shoulder arthroscopy

Having a shower:

1 day after surgery

Light exercise:

3-7 days after surgery


2-6 weeks after surgery, when able to raise the arm 90 degrees with little pain

Normal exercise:

4-6 weeks after surgery

Going back to work:

2-6 weeks after surgery, once comfortable

Shoulder replacement surgery

Having a shower:

1 day after surgery

Light exercise:

8 weeks after surgery

Normal exercise:

4-6 months after surgery


8-10 weeks after surgery

Going back to work:

4-8 weeks after surgery for sedentary position, 4-6 months for manual work