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What is a frozen shoulder?

Shoulders play an important role in everyday living. Whether you are driving the car, hitting the gym, carrying groceries or hugging a friend, your shoulders help you accomplish countless tasks every day.

The shoulder joint is made up of three bones held in place by muscles, tendons and ligaments. A ball and socket joint, your shoulder can move up, down, side-to-side and rotate in a circle. Healthy shoulders allow for a wide range of motion and mobility, but that mobility also makes it vulnerable to injury.

Causes and conditions

Repetitive overuse and aging can take a toll on a shoulder. Sometimes the tendons and structures that cushion your shoulder become inflamed or irritated. If you have a painful injury that limits motion, then the joint can become tight over time. This makes normal movement increasingly difficult. When you have stiffness and pain that limits your range of motion, this is called a frozen shoulder. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, your doctor can evaluate your condition so that you receive proper care.

Treatment options

Some shoulder pain can be treated with physical therapy, activity modification, and injections to help decrease pain and regain motion and strength. When these treatments cannot provide the desired result, surgery may be recommended.

Although shoulder replacement surgery is less common than surgery to replace hips and knees, it can relieve pain just as successfully, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

“Shoulder joint replacement surgery is generally recommended for severe rotator cuff injuries, with or without wear-and-tear arthritis of the shoulder joint,” says Wayne Woodard, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Kettering Physician Network’s Orthopedics & Sports Medicine practice in Xenia. “Surgery is not for everyone. Your doctor will evaluate your condition to see if replacement surgery will be a safe and effective treatment.”

Surgery involves inserting a stem with a metal ball on top into the bone of the upper arm. The ball fits into a plastic socket that’s placed in the shoulder blade. Depending on the condition of the shoulder, surgery may involve replacing only the ball portion of the joint.


Could shoulder replacement surgery be right for you?

You may be a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery if you experience the following:

• Severe shoulder pain that interferes with daily activities.

• Moderate to severe pain while resting. It may keep you awake at night.

• Pain that prevents you from participating in routine activities such as visiting friends or going shopping.

• Loss of motion or weakness in the shoulder.

• Limited improvement or no relief with other treatments.

Talk with your doctor about treatment options that can work for you, or click here to find the right orthopedic surgeon for you