Does PRP work for shoulder periarthritis?

Though the shoulder joint is complex, it is one of the most flexible joints in the human body. This joint is made up of several bones, muscles, and tendons that work together to provide flexibility, which also allows a wide range of motion. However, the complex nature of the shoulder joint places it at risk of developing various conditions and makes it prone to injuries such as rotator cuff tears, adhesive capsulitis, and shoulder periarthritis. 


Periarthritis is a kind of arthritis that is painful and mostly affects the surrounding parts of a single joint. Though it can affect any joint in the body, shoulder joints are more vulnerable to this condition. When calcium crystals build up around the shoulder joint, it may result in periarthritis, which can cause painful swelling around the affected joints. This condition mostly affects the surrounding parts of the joint but not inside the joint.

Calcium crystals are natural elements found in the body that help to strengthen our bones and teeth. However, some people have excess calcium crystals in some body parts. For instance, if there are too many calcium crystals in a tendon, it may affect the tendon, which is referred to as calcific tendonitis.

Most of the time, these calcium crystals in the tendon do not cause any pain or other problems. But sometimes these hard, sharp crystals might disperse into the soft tissue surrounding the joint, which causes pain and swelling because they rub against the soft tissues. This condition is called “calcific periarthritis”.

Differences between arthritis and periarthritis

Arthritis and periarthritis are different conditions because periarthritis affects the surrounding area of the joint, while arthritis affects the whole joint. Additionally, periarthritis is temporary and, in most cases, resolves after a few years, but arthritis is a chronic condition that progresses over time.

Symptoms of periarthritis

Pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joint are major symptoms of periarthritis. Symptoms might develop all of a sudden, which can be mild or even severe in some cases. Some other common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Joint tenderness 
  • When you move the affected joint, it will be painful and sometimes pain becomes worse with movement 
  • pain might be more severe, especially while sleeping at night
  • You may not be able to move the joint or limp due to pain and stiffness
  • Reduced range of movement

Causes and risk factors for periarthritis

Periarthritis is one of the common health problems that is caused due to the presence of excessive calcium in the body. It can affect anyone, male or female, especially as we get older, Natural chemical changes in the body might increase the likelihood of forming calcium crystals in blood, urine, or soft tissues. 

Below are some of the factors that may put you at risk of developing periarthritis:

  • Aged people, especially people between 45 and 65 years
  • Compared to men, women are at greater risk of periarthritis 
  • Having an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism) or any other thyroid condition
  • Improper functioning of kidneys or having any other illness that impacts the functioning of kidneys 
  • Diabetes – a condition that increases the levels of glucose in the body
  • Heart problems like stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Overuse of the shoulder joint
  • Trauma or injury to the joint 
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Postsurgical scarring, particularly on the shoulders
  • Taking certain medications

People who lead a sedentary lifestyle are also vulnerable to this condition. The exact reason why crystals start to shed is not clear, but occasionally it happens one or two days after injury or overuse. 

Treatment options for periarthritis

In most cases, periarthritis resolves after a few years, even without treatment. Typically, it takes around three years for the calcium crystals to dissolve. This is the duration that causes pain. However, until the condition improves, pain can be relieved with the help of certain pain management treatments.

PRP for shoulder periarthritis

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a new and innovative treatment procedure in which a concentrated liquid extracted from the patient’s own blood is directly injected into the affected area. This PRP liquid contains more growth platelets, which stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.

When it comes to shoulder periarthritis, some research indicates that PRP might be helpful for some people because it is frequently linked to shoulder conditions such as frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tendinopathy, which has positive results using PRP therapy. However, the effectiveness and results of PRP treatment for shoulder periarthritis can vary from one person to another.

Many studies all over the world have indicated that PRP injections may improve pain, function, and range of motion for people who suffer from shoulder periarthritis. But it is very important to remember that the results of PRP therapy depend on many factors, like the characteristics of the periarthritis, the general health of the patient, and the technique used to prepare the PRP solution and its administration.

However, the suitable treatment for periarteritis always depends on the severity of the condition and its symptoms. Some of the most common treatment options include:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Pain and inflammation are the primary symptoms, and NSAIDs can help reduce them.

Needle aspiration

In this condition, due to the build-up of excess fluid, the bursa between the joints becomes swollen. So, to drain this excess fluid from the bursa and relieve pain and swelling, experts use this needle aspiration procedure.

Steroid injections

If pain and swelling are severe, doctors suggest injecting steroid medication directly into the affected area of the joint. 

Shockwave treatment

If calcium crystals cause severe symptoms, shockwave treatment is one of the best treatments to break them into small pieces.


If calcium crystals are so large that they are causing severe pain or restricting joint movement, surgery would be the best option.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can ease joint stiffness and reduce pain. It is an important treatment option because it strengthens the joint and helps to regain lost movement.

Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, one of the best orthopaedic doctors in Hyderabad and an expert surgeon in PRP administration, says that before considering PRP or any other treatment, consult an experienced orthopaedic specialist for a complete evaluation of your specific condition. Based on the evaluation result, the surgeon would discuss the best treatment options that suit you and your general health circumstances. To make an appointment with the doctor call +91 98499 82203 right away.

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