Shoulder arthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage surface of the ball and socket wears, becomes uneven and results in a generally inflamed state of the shoulder joint. This is usually a gradual process that occurs as a result of genetic predisposition and/or wear and tear occurring over your lifetime. While the process is gradual, it is curiously common for the symptoms to have a relatively rapid onset. This can be managed (though not cured) with nonsurgical methods initially. Physical therapy can be helpful in selected instances but typically, activity modification (rest) and anti-inflammatory medication (oral or injected) can minimize symptoms for months to years. When the disease progresses and/or these measures lose effectiveness, shoulder replacement surgery is a highly successful option.