UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Frozen Shoulder

Keywords: Adhesive Capsulitis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/24/2017 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 6/13/2024)
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Adhesive Capsulitis aka Frozen Shoulder

Spontaneous gradual onset stiffness and pain of the Glenohumeral joint

Shoulder capsule becomes thickened and contracted

Often affects patients between 40 and 60 years old

Left> Right shoulder

Women> men

Association with diabetes and thyroid disease

3 clinical stages

1)      Pain – gradual onset, diffuse, severe, disabling, often worse at night

2)      Stiffness – decreased ROM, affects ADLs, improved pain

3)      Thawing – gradual return of motion

Physical examination: Painful and decreased ROM. Evaluate active and passive movement, external rotation and ABduction of the shoulder most affected

Surgical or post traumatic shoulder stiffness usually resolves within 12 months.

Adhesive capsulitis is generally self-limiting lasting an average of 18-36 months.

DDX: Chronic locked posterior shoulder dislocation (VERY IMPORTANT), tumor.

Treatment: NSAIDs, Physical therapy, Intra articular steroids

If this fails, manipulation under anesthesia and/or arthroscopic surgical release