Glenohumeral arthritis involves wear and tear of the “big” shoulder joint. Most commonly, it occurs at an elderly age as any joint arthritis. However, sometimes arthritis of the GH joint may occur at a young age.
Trauma, very heavy labor or sports and trauma may cause early glenohumeral arthritis. Chronic instability and numerous dislocations of the shoulder also often lead to arthritis. A long-lasting chronic rotator cuff rupture leads to a condition called cuff arthropathy, in which overall degeneration of the joint and arthritis occur.
Patients usually tolerate mild arthritis quite well, since the GH joint is not under the type of stress as the knee or hip joint. On the other hand, the arthritic GH joint will become stiff and painful in severe cases.
Treatment usually begins conservatively with supportive treatments such as physiotherapy and pain control. If the condition worsens, surgical treatment may be necessary. Arthroscopic procedures may be attempted in very young patients, depending on the case. However, arthroscopic procedures in GH arthritis are not generally very effective. The most effective surgical solution for symptomatic GH arthritis is replacement surgery.