The combination of arthritis and rotator cuff tear is known as arthropathy. It is a severe and complex form of shoulder arthritis in which the shoulder has lost not only the cartilage that normally covers its joint surface but also the tendons of the rotator cuff tear which help position and power the joint.
Normally the tendons of the rotator cuff (large arrows) allow smooth motion of the upper end of the arm bone (humerus) beneath the overlying bones and muscles. Treatment options include partial joint replacement with a cuff tear arthropathy (CTA) prosthesis. If severe instability of the joint complicates cuff tear arthropathy, a reversed (reverse Delta) prosthesis may be indicated. The good news is that this condition is not lethal.
Symptoms include swelling, possibly accompanied with pain or fever. If this swelling is associated with pain or fever, the possibilities of an infection need to be considered. Most individuals suffering from this condition feel discomfort when trying to use the arm or sleeping. It also is known to occur (if at all) in women well past the child bearing age.
The causes of Rotator Cuff Arthritis are still not completely known. However, it is associated with the progressive loss of the cartilage and bone of the humeral head (ball of the shoulder) and rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff arthritis is a chronic condition and rarely requires immediate medical attention. At times, however, is a large amount of swelling occurs around the shoulder causing possible pain. If this swelling is associated with pain or fever, the possibilities of an infection need to be considered. Under such circumstances, a physician should examine the patient immediately. If the symptoms are mild the condition may be treated with gentle motion exercises to strengthen the deltoid and other muscles around the shoulder that remain intact. If exercises do not improve the comfort and function of the shoulder surgery may be necessary.