Our specialists are among the few across the globe to perform all aspects of reconstructive procedures.

Understanding Arthritis & Available Treatment Options

When you have an injury or arthritis of your shoulder or elbow, doing even seemingly simple tasks can prove difficult. You may be unable to lift or move your arm without experiencing pain. Though many conditions can result in shoulder pain, some of the most common causes include:

Rotator cuff tears
Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. They often occur after traumatic injuries in younger patients and from degenerative disease in the elderly population. 

Bicep tendonitis
Bicep tendonitis is when one of the tendons that connect the bicep to the shoulder becomes torn or inflamed. This condition often results from overuse or repetitive motion, such as throwing a ball.

Rotator cuff arthropathy or arthritis
Rotator cuff arthropathy is a severe form of shoulder arthritis that can occur after a large rotator cuff tear, especially if it is left untreated. In addition to causing intense pain, the condition can also lead to issues with strength and stability.

Post-traumatic arthritis
Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that can occur after a joint injury, sometimes months or years after the initial trauma. Pain and stiffness are common symptoms; over time, many people may experience loss of function.

AC joint arthritis
AC joint arthritis occurs in the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet. Wear and tear can lead to cartilage loss in the joint, interfering with smooth joint motion and leading to pain, swelling, and, eventually, spurs around the joint.

How we can help

When conservative measures to treat shoulder and elbow pain and arthritis aren’t enough, we can help. Our advanced surgical procedures alleviate pain and enhance quality of life.

Find Convenient Care with Six Locations Across New Jersey.

Is Shoulder Arthritis Treatment Right for Me?

Injuries and arthritis of the shoulder and elbow can significantly disrupt your life. Living with constant pain and inflammation can cause frustration, while instability and loss of strength can make doing daily tasks impossible. Schedule a consultation if you experience chronic:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling 
  • Pain in the forearm that radiates to the elbow
  • Physical joint deformities 
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty raising arm
  • Inability to lift items

Shoulder pain senior black man-1

Ajul Shah, MD, FACS


Dr. Ajul Shah is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery with a Subspecialty Board Certification in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery. He has advanced fellowship training in hand and upper extremity surgery and microsurgery, as well as extensive training at institutions such as Yale University and New York University. Dr. Shah offers thoughtful solutions to complex surgical problems. His compassionate nature provides patients with a sense of safety and comfort during challenging times in their lives.

Hari Iyer, MD


Dr. Hari Iyer is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and upper extremity surgery. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) as well as the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). Dr. Iyer completed training in Orthopaedic surgery, treating fractures and joint diseases throughout the body, followed by subspecialty fellowship training in hand and upper extremity surgery. His specialized training in bony repair and joint reconstruction offers a unique set of skills that complement the training of our team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

David Tsai, MD


Dr. David Tsai is a hand and upper extremity surgeon with dual training in plastic & reconstructive surgery and orthopedics. Dr. Tsai applies expertise from both fields to provide the utmost specialty care for patients with upper extremity ailments, from the simple and common to the incredibly rare and complex.

About The Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery

The Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction offers comprehensive, highly specialized treatments for hand and upper extremity injuries. 

Our dedicated team of providers is composed of surgeons with subspecialty expertise in hand and upper extremity surgery and microsurgery, as well as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician specializing in pain management.

We offer advanced treatments for various types of shoulder and elbow injuries and arthritis, allowing patients to experience life with less pain.

Senior lady suffering from shoulder ache

Frequently Asked Questions

What is arthritis?

Arthritis describes the pain, stiffness, and inflammation that many people experience within joints, or the intersection where two bones meet. When cartilage in the joints degenerates, this creates a “bone on bone” motion, leading to pain and sometimes deformity.

What may indicate shoulder arthritis?

People with shoulder arthritis often experience pain or stiffness in the shoulder, especially with movement. They may also have:

  • Decreased range of motion
  • Less flexibility
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Difficulty lifting or reaching overhead
  • A grinding or creaking sensation in the shoulder
How is shoulder arthritis diagnosed?

Diagnosing shoulder arthritis begins with a physical examination and a review of your medical history. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans allow closer examination of damaged areas.

What may indicate elbow arthritis?

People with elbow arthritis often experience pain or stiffness in the elbow, especially with movement. They may also have:

  • Decreased range of motion
  • Less flexibility at the elbow joint
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Difficulty lifting or gripping objects
How is elbow arthritis diagnosed?

Confirming a diagnosis of elbow arthritis will involve ruling out other potential causes of pain. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, gather detailed medical history, and order imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan.

How do you treat arthritis?

Our goal in treating arthritis at The Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery is to reduce pain and preserve as much motion as possible. We take an individualized approach for each patient, providing detailed information about your treatment options so you can make the best decision for you.