Shoulder Diagram

What is shoulder osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
It most commonly affects people older than 45 and is more common if you are overweight, have a family history of it, or have previously injured the joint in question. Osteoarthritis has varying impact on function, activity and quality of life. Contrary to popular belief it does not affect everyone as you get older and does not necessarily get worse with age.


Everyone’s joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the body’s process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, it’s known as osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the joints around your shoulder may thin and the surfaces of the joint may become rougher, which means that the shoulder doesn’t move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.


  • Pain over the joint or joints affected.
  • Morning stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes.
  • You may notice swelling around the affected joints.
  • Reduced shoulder movement.
  • Difficultly with activities such as brushing your hair or shaving.


See Versus Arthritis for more detail and for links to self-management tips and exercises:

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