Calcification of Shoulder Joint

The third major joint after knee and hip where calcification, in other words arthrosis, can be seen is shoulder joint. There are two joints in shoulder region; however the main joint is the glenohumeral joint between arm bone and blade bone. This joint is in the shape of ball and socket. At the same time it is the most flexible joint in our body. Socket shaped head of arm bone (humerus) enters to a small socket (glenoid). Muscles and other soft tissues hold the head of bone in the socket and they provide you to move your arm up and down, sides, opposite side of your body and to your back. Normal head of bone is like a ball and freely moves by sliding in the socket. The reason is, arm bones which form the joint are protected by soft tissues and the joint is covered by a soft tissue called synovium.

Osteoarthritis occurs via erosion of the joint. Cartilage cracks, its surface become rough and its bone socket corrodes. Lubricity of the joint spoils and its movements get restricted. At the end, bone comes out and protrusions called osteophytes get formed on it. Destruction of the protective cartilage layer results in pain and movement restriction. Patients define a friction sensation during shoulder movements.

Cartilage loss at shoulder joint may occur due to rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis but it may also takes place due to trauma or nutritional deficiency (avascular necrosis).


Like any other joint calcification, the first line treatment of arthrotic diseases in the shoulder joint; painkiller medications, intra-articular injections and physical therapy methods. This treatment options get chance of success according to stage o

f disease. Joint arthroses are mostly progressive diseases. In the advanced stages of cartilage loss, treatment is joint prosthesis application.

If head of the arm bone (head of the humerus) or soft tissue got damaged but the glenoid, which is located to back 

of blade bone, is intact, sometimes it may be enough to replace head of the bone. Head of the humerus is removed and arm bone is prepared to be able to hold the stalk which will be put in. Stalk may be fastening to bone via cement. Thereafter, metallic head is placed to new stalk. This structure is named as partial joint prosthesis.

Your doctor may decide to replace both head of the bone and its socket if both of them are damaged. First, corroded head of the humerus is removed and arm bone is prepared to hold the stalk which will be placed. Then, socket is prepared. Generally, plastic pot is fixed to its place with cement. Finally, stalk is put into the arm bone and metallic globe is fastened firmly to the new stalk. This is joint prosthesis.

After the operation, patients must be supported with exercises to open shoulder joint movement and and to strengthen shoulder joint. Patients' complaints are substantially improved if replacement surgery is made appropriately by experienced surgeons. Patients may return their former activities in 1.5-2 months time period with a good follow-up and physical therapy.

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The information on this website is not intended to replace any medical advice given by physicians with access to your detailed medical history.