Most patients with mild glenohumeral arthritis experience diminished pain and improved functioning within 4 – 6 weeks following conservative treatment, such as rest, NSAIDs and therapeutic exercises.
Moderate forms of the condition, in which patients experience more extensive pain, weakness and loss of mobility or function, may require more aggressive treatment, including possible arthroscopic surgery to debride the joint surfaces, followed by physical therapy. If this occurs, recovery can expect to take 6 – 12 weeks following surgery before stability, strength and functioning is restored.
Severe glenohumeral arthritis may necessitate joint replacement surgery due to significant pain, stiffness and loss of functionality brought on by bone-on-bone contact. If this occurs, recovery can require 3 – 6 months of intensive physical therapy following surgery, although additional functional gains can continue for up to a year. Quality of life is typically significantly improved following joint replacement surgery, although there will still be some limitations to mobility and function.