by Mr Jamie Buchanan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, MB BS, FRCS (Orth)
Shoulder replacements have been around for many years but have not enjoyed the same level of success as hip and knee replacements. This is due to the very different anatomy of the joint, the thin nature of the arm and shoulder blade bones and the fact that the muscles around the shoulder deteriorate with age.
Unlike the lower limb most people can cope with a degree of pain or stiffness in the shoulder without being hugely disabled. For many, arthritis of the shoulder is something they live with as most day-to-day tasks can still be completed. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain and regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in an arthritic shoulder.