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Your surgeon will evaluate your health history, perform a physical examination, and take x-rays to diagnose your shoulder pain.

  • Medical history
  • Symptoms
  • Health
  • Activity
  • Examine affected joint
  • Range of motion tests
  • Joint-line tenderness
  • Joint deformities
  • X-rays

An x-ray will help your surgeon diagnose your shoulder pain. On an x-ray, a healthy shoulder joint appears as if there is a space between the bones in the joint. Although you cannot see the cartilage on an x-ray, in the healthy shoulder, the cartilage is working to cushion and smooth the movement of the humerus (upper arm bone) against the scapula (shoulder blade). On the x-ray of a shoulder with osteoarthritis, there is bone on bone contact because the cartilage between the humerus and scapula has been worn away.

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain, Rockville, Maryland

When non-surgical treatments such as diet, exercise, medications, supplements, and physical therapy fail, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend total shoulder replacement.

You should discuss your condition and treatment options with your surgeon.

All patient education materials are provided by and have been reviewed by our Advisory Board of leading Orthopedic Surgeons to ensure accuracy. All materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your orthopedic surgeon. Any medical decisions should be made after consulting a qualified physician. This site includes links to other web sites. takes no responsibility for the content or information contained in the linked sites.

Locations & Directions

Camalier Building
10215 Fernwood Road
Suite 502
Bethesda, MD 20817

Washington Joint Institute

Highline at Greensboro District
8401 Greensboro Drive
Suite 120
McLean, VA 22102