Inflammation of shoulder socket

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body.

The joint is associated with four tendons. The purpose of a tendon is to hold muscle to bone. Together, these four "rotator cuff" tendons stabilize the upper arm bone to the shoulder socket and allow a wide range of motion in the shoulder.

The tendons pass underneath a rigid bony arch in the shoulder. The most common cause of shoulder pain is when the tendons become trapped under this arch. The compressed tendons become inflamed or damaged, a condition called rotator cuff tendinitis. This can occur from general wear and tear or as a result of an injury.

Shoulder pain can also be due to:

•Arthritis in the joints of the shoulder- there are three joints that make up the shoulder complex.
•Bursitis (inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, or bursa, that lies between tendon and skin or between tendon and bone). Normally a bursa protects the joint and helps make movement easier.
•Fractures of the shoulder.
•Frozen shoulder.
•Inflammation of nearby tendons, such as those connected to the bicep muscles.
•Dislocation of the shoulder.

Inflammation of the shoulder joint or socket can occur as a result of many types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, calcium pyrophosphate disease, and osteoarthritis. If systemic forms of arthritis affect the shoulders, then use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) and biologics are needed.

The treatment of inflammation in this area is treatment of the underlying disease along with supplemental oral anti-inflammatory medicines, intra-articular steroid injections, and physical therapy. Ultrasound-guided needle tenotomy with platelet-rich plasma also is an effective treatment for soft tissue disorders of the shoulder.

Another condition called polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is also associated with inflammation of the shoulder socket and requires oral corticosteroids.

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