T Nation

Shoulder Arthritis


#1

I am an older guy, age 60, who has had ongoing shoulder issues for years which I have been working around. Recently, I've started physical therapy for it and have seen a specialist. I have been prescribed six weeks of physical therapy and am skeptical it can help. I have been able to lift reasonably well the last five years, using dumbbells primarily for chest and shoulders rather than a straight bar. I find that if I keep my palms facing each other and to limit my range of motion a bit I can do okay.

X-rays revealed that I have pretty significant arthritis in my shoulder around the coracoid area where the biceps short and long head connect to the pectoral tendon. I'm skeptical about the physical therapy because most of the exercises I was shown I have already been doing. I'm wondering what experience guys have had with long-term shoulder arthritis, and what options I may have in addition to the physical therapy. The doctor alluded to other options, but we really didn't get into it. I was kind of hoping that there would be a arthroscopic procedure that could "clean it out," allowing me to work out pain-free. I am hoping that I can squeeze out another 25 years or so of training.

Thanks guys.


#2

I'm 49 and had my left shoulder cleaned out 3 years ago. I was at the point where it hurt to put on a shirt. I've been training since I was 15, that plus 8 years of football did some damage to my shoulders. My problem was calcified bursitis and arthritis in my AC joint. The surgery worked well and the shoulder is much better.

I do alot of shoulder warm up before every workout and I avoid exercises that irritate the joints. I don't do any overhead presses, and I don't go really heavy-under 5 rep sets, anymore.

I also take 2 Aleave before every workout which was the advice from a physical therapist.

Good luck, hope this helped.


#3

Is it in the AC joint or the glenohumeral (ie labrum damage)?

If it's the AC joint they can "clean it out" by shaving off part of the collar bone.

If it's glenohumeral then there really isn't much else you can do aside from a replacement.

I'd continue with the PT for a while and if you aren't happy try a different therapist. If you already have good strength then you're probably right that it won't help much, but a good PT may identify some imbalances that are causing some impingement.

I'm half your age and dealing with it already. I had surgery the beginning of this year on that side. We initially thought I had two separate labrum tears, but it turned out to be one posterior tear and arthritis along the front top that resembled a SLAP tear on the MRI. My hope is to keep mine healthy enough that I never have to go through a replacement, but either way that's a long ways off for me.


#4

There is arthritis everywhere, but the main area of pain is the coracoid area. I hope to avoid surgery as I've been told the recovery from that can be a long one.

Any idea how long the surgery and recovery could take? Looks like step one is to increase range of motion as much as possible.


#5

You've had a few weeks of therapy now. Feel like it's helping any Josann?


#6

Shoulder actually got worse. Got a cortisone shot today. Probably too much work by the pt on range of motion and some over zealousness on my part. My doctor’s comments on the pt’s work was classic: “You don’t treat a 60 year old shoulder like a 20 year old shoulder.”

Guess I gotta pay to play. I’ll pay and hopefully be playing at 100% soon.


#7

Keep hitting it man.


#8

I am fortunate in that I have a bone spur so big it pokes out of the top of my shoulder but I’m not really limited yet as to what I can do and the pain is minimal. My only concern for you OP is that since you’re feeling pain in the biceps tendon there might be a spur cutting on the tendon.