View Full Version : arthritis in the shoulder...just diagnosed! AHH!

February 23rd, 2015, 09:46 PM
I have pain in my right shoulder/arm and a X-ray said I have arthritis in the joint space in my shoulder. It aches in my tricep which is weird if it is arthritis in my shoulder!!?? I haven't swam in 3 weeks. Going to lay off until the irritation subsides some more. Doctor prescribed Naproxen 500mg 2x daily. It is an anti-inflammatory drug. It seems to be helping a little. I am wondering about competitive masters swimming? I have been doing this for 3 years and I am afraid my competitive days may have to be behind me. : ( Does anyone else have arthritis in their shoulder? or anything similar they are dealing with? I am sure it varies with each individual. However, how much yardage can one do before it hurts and you have to quit? I was trying to swim through the pain and it just got way to aggravated. I have to learn when enough is enough. It is hard because my brain wants my body to be able to keep going...push through it. I have to stop that cause now i am out of the pool trying to heal what i have done to it!! Any help/suggestions on what i can expect would be welcome. What have you been through with this? I love swimming and will not stop swimming. I just afraid trying to do distance and speed are over! Please tell me what you think??? Thanks : ) (btw I am 51 )

February 23rd, 2015, 10:14 PM
Regarding the seemingly odd location of the pain, search for "referred pain rotator cuff".

February 23rd, 2015, 11:06 PM
I'm not a medical professional of any sort, But I have had a severely torn rotator cuff, and corrective surgery for it (Injury was cause by throwing and not by swimming but did greatly affect my swimming). I'm 54 now and it happened when I was 51/52. I think that just because the x-ray shows that you have arthritis in the shoulder it doesn't mean that is what is causing the pain. I have arthritic conditions in one of my knees but can still run relatively painless. Like smontanaro alludes to...maybe you do have a rotator cuff issue that is causing the pain. But, any sort of tear in any of the rotator cuff muscles won't show up on an x-ray. You'll need to have an MRI for that. MRIs are expensive and doctors don't like to just order them on a whim. You'll need to keep complaining to your doctor, or get second and third opinions. For the sake of all that is holy I hope it isn't anything that requires rotator cuff surgery and can be managed with non-surgical methods. Recovery and PT from that surgery is not fun. Good luck.


February 24th, 2015, 08:22 AM
I was in an accident 3 years ago which broke my shoulder--to the surgeon's surprise the rotator cuff was not injured. As a result I have pins/screws holding 'stuff' in place. My type of injury increases the chance of arthritis in the joint. My shoulder feels somewhat stiff (especially during backstroke) and I have pain in the tricep. But neither are so bad I feel as if I should go back to doctor. After physical therapy I had about 97 or 98% range of motion, so I don't think the stiffness and pain are due to a lack of range of motion. About a year ago I started taking glucosimine and condrotin. I can tell a difference. The supplement may be something to consider. About 40% of people taking glucosimine and condrotin do not see any positive effects. I've tried several different brands and believe one works better for me than others. So, if you do try the supplement and don't get positive effects don't assume you are in the 40%, try another brand. All the best.

February 24th, 2015, 12:23 PM
First and foremost, you need to listen to your doctor in terms of what your limitations may be. If there is no objection made to engaging in some form of activity in the pool, there are many ways to continue swimming without necessarily irritating the shoulder and forcing yourself to swim through the pain.

In our sport, it is very important to have as balanced as symmetrical of a stroke as possible, so that you are not putting undue pressure on certain muscles and joints, thus leading to aggravation and pain. What I have done in cases where my swimmers experience pain is to have them avoid using those areas of the body and focus on strengthening other areas instead. For example, you can practice single arm using the non-painful arm. Or you can focus on strengthening your kick without using your arms at all. In this way, you are not only giving your shoulder a chance to recover, but you are also helping to strengthen other areas of the body that can help take some of the burden off of your shoulder during your swim.

When your shoulder has recovered enough to return to a normal swimming routine, be sure to keep the balance between kicking, drills, and full stroke sets. You should also consider getting your stroke analyzed by a qualified coach to see if there are any issues with your stroke that may have caused the shoulder pain. Physical therapist Ryn Lister wrote a great article for us on swimmer's shoulder that may help provide some insight: http://www.swimspire.com/swimmers-shoulder/

Best of luck!

February 24th, 2015, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the info. I do take glucosimine /condrotin but havent had much result. I will try a different brand. Laineybug... I will definitely keep on my Dr to order MRI if i dont get results from some of the things I am going to try. Dan... I sure hope its not Rotator cuff! I have my doubts about it just being the arthritis that's for sure. I will keep on this. Thanks for the input.

February 26th, 2015, 01:23 PM
I suspect that many if not most of us would have evidence of arthritis on plain films of the shoulder. That may not be the cause of your symptoms. I would consult with an orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine. He or she can decide whether an MRI is warranted. You might also be a candidate for physical therapy.

BTW there have been numerous threads on this subject over the years. Do a search on this forum and check them out.

February 26th, 2015, 04:19 PM
I have the same shoulder issue (right); I feel a twinge in my triceps & sometimes tingling down to my hand. This results in marked weakness of the right arm. This is an intermittent problem & luckily hasn't interrupted my workouts. I am also 51; I am therefore pretty careful about what I do exercise-wise. I like to mix up my workouts & do kicking sets, pulling (without paddles) & all strokes. If I do a lot of freestyle, my arm isn't too happy afterwards. I don't swim more than 4 x week. I do a lot of shoulder strengthening exercises using a stretch cord, and planks.
It sucks getting old....

February 27th, 2015, 06:45 PM
It sucks getting old....

Let's dispel this myth right now...when it comes to swimming, shoulder issues are not usually age-specific! Shoulder issues are often caused by poor technique. It doesn't matter if you swim once per week or four times per week, nor whether you are 18 years old or 80 - if you're swimming repetitively using incorrect technique, you will be at risk for developing shoulder problems. Gull suggested that the OP consult an orthopedist to see what is wrong, which is good advice in this particular case since it's in a later stage of pain. But so many swimmers could save themselves that trip to the doctor and money wasted if they focused on technique and got outside help to evaluate their stroke as soon as they started experiencing pain. This is the first step towards figuring out the root cause of the problem.

February 28th, 2015, 12:17 PM
In reference to docs, go to see one that deals with sports injuries. Many other docs just say do do it if it hurts. A sports doc will look into why that is causing pain & what you do sports wise & try to alter that offending movement --- I hope that is what they do.