Shoulder Arthritis Specialist in New Jersey

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments that Americans suffer from, with over 50 million people a year visiting doctors for treatment. Arthritis is the chronic inflammation of one or more of your joints, which in turn causes pain and stiffness in and around the joint. In the shoulder there are two joints, the acromioclavicular joint, which is where the clavicle meets the shoulder blade, and the glenohumeral joint, where the humerus fits into the scapula. In addition to the two joints in the shoulder, there is also a major socket in each shoulder called the glenoid. The glenoid is held in place by a series of muscles and tendons that assist in the rotation of the arm bone while in the socket, and these tissues are known as the rotator cuff.

Causes of Shoulder Arthritis

There are five major types of arthritis that can typically affect the shoulder. Osteoarthritis, known as the “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is an arthritic condition where the smoother outer covering of the bone, known as the articular cartilage, begins to wear away decreasing the amount of protective space between the bones and eventually causing bone to bone rubbing. This type of arthritis is usually caused by age, with most patients who suffer from the condition being over 50 years of age. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that can affect multiple joints throughout the body at once. This condition causes the lining of the joint, known as synovium, to swell and restrict movement within the joint. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is purely genetic, since it is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack it’s own tissues. Posttraumatic Arthritis is a variation of osteoarthritis that forms following an injury in the shoulder such as a fracture of dislocation. Rotator Cuff Tear Arthopathy can develop over time if a patient has a rotator cuff tendon tear that has been ignored and left untreated. When the rotator cuff tissues tear, it allows the head of the humerus to move freely in the socket, where it can rub against the surface of surrounding bones. Avascular Necrosis is a painful condition where blood supply to the socket at the head of the humerus disrupted. This condition can cause the bone cells to die due to lack of blood circulation. Causes of this rare condition can range from heavy steroid use, regular alcohol consumption, sickle cell disease, and traumatic injuries to the shoulder.

Symptoms of Shoulder Arthritis

The most common symptoms that patients complain of when they visit NJOI is regular pain in their shoulder, which varies in intensity based on the amount of movement or load that the shoulder bears. As arthritis in the shoulder sets in and is left untreated, the pain will continually worsen over time. Depending on where in the shoulder the arthritis has set in will determine where the most pain is experienced. Those with arthritis in the glenohumeral joint will experience the majority of their pain in the back of the shoulder, and will feel the pain radiating from deep within the joint. When arthritis has affected the acromioclavicular joint, pain will be focused at the top of the shoulder, and may feel like it is traveling to and up the side of the neck. In addition to pain experienced by arthritis sufferers, there may also be a limited range of motion in the shoulder and arm. An audible grinding, clicking, or snapping may also develop over time.

Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis in New Jersey

Initial treatment for arthritis always begins with non-surgical methods. Depending on the extent and type of arthritis affecting the shoulder, doctors may recommend a variety of options, ranging from physical therapy to improve range of motion, NSAIDs, a heat/ice regiment, or, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, a prescription medication like methotrexate that can help counteract the autoimmune disease. If the severity of the patient’s shoulder arthritis may cause disability if left untreated, one or two surgical options can be utilized. An arthroscopy utilizes a small camera that it inserted through a small incision and ran down to the shoulder joint. Once the surgeon has a clear view of what the joint looks like, they can then introduce small instruments through the arthroscope to debride the joint. The procedure does not eliminate the arthritis from the joint, but it can provide pain relief that may last for a varied amount of time. Advanced arthritis may require a shoulder replacement surgery, where the damaged parts of the shoulder are surgically removed and replaced with artificial components. There are three types of replacement options, hemiarthroplasty, where the head of the humerus is replaced, total shoulder arthroplasty, where the humerus head and the glenoid are replaced with a plastic cup and metal ball, and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, where the metal ball is fixed to the glenoid, and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus.

If shoulder pain is a constant in your life, it may be time to come visit us at NJOI and let us find ways to help you reduce pain and improve your quality of life. Our practice has 6 convenient locations throughout North and Central New Jersey. Come visit us in Wayne, Clifton, Bridgewater, Butler, or Morristown. Give us a call at 973-273-3431 to schedule an appointment today!

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Meet The Team

Vincent K. McInerney, M.D.


Founding member, Vincent K. McInerney, M.D., graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 1977 with honors as one of the top medical students in his class.

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Anthony Festa, M.D.


Dr. Anthony Festa is an orthopaedic surgeon in his seventh year of practice at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute.

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Anthony J. Scillia, M.D.


Anthony J. Scillia M.D. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine.

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Robert M. Palacios, M.D.


Dr. Robert Palacios is board-certified and fellowship trained, and has been specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine for over two decades.

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Craig Wright, M.D.


Craig Wright, MD joins New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute by way of Totowa, NJ where he was born and raised.

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John Callaghan, M.D.


John Callaghan, M.D. is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic trauma specialist. His expertise encompasses the treatment of acute traumatic injuries.

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  • "Doctors and staff very knowledgeable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Procedure I had went well and staff at surgical center very nice. My procedure went very smoothly. Follow up by staff impressive. Neat office; inviting. Would definitely recommend Dr. Festa to anyone in need of such services."

    Satisfied Patient
  • "Hurt my hand in work. Came here thru my company. Happy with the Doctor and the Service. Good Location. Would recommend to others."

    Satisfied Patient

Other Locations

Wayne Office

504 Valley Rd. Ste 200 Wayne, NJ 07470

Butler Office

45 Carey Ave. Butler, NJ 07405

Morristown Office

111 Madison Ave. Ste 400 Morristown, NJ 07962

Bridgewater Office

720 Rte. 202-206 Bridgewater, NJ 08807

West-Milford Office

1900 Union Valley Rd Hewitt, NJ 07421