Frozen Shoulder

This is a curious condition where the shoulder begins to feel restricted and patients often get night pain in the early stages. It may be without a known cause, or there may be an underlying association such as diabetes, trauma or a neuromuscular problem. Indeed, it is so common in diabetics that they have a 10% lifetime risk of getting a frozen shoulder. The corollary is also true, in that if you are diagnosed with a frozen shoulder, there is a 75% chance you either have insulin resistance or diabetes.

It usually affects women between the ages of 30 and 60. It is mostly only in one arm, but up to 15% of patients experience it in both shoulders at the same time.

The main issue is progressive stiffness and pain, with patients experiencing varying degrees of restriction in their shoulders. It is very frustrating as it is a slowly progressive condition which can take 18 months to 2 years to recover.

  • Management


The evidence indicates that physiotherapy is essential in this condition, with progressive stretching and rotator cuff strengthening to maintain the muscle conditioning. A single local anaesthetic and corticosteroid injection into the shoulder is best in order to settle the shoulder.


Operative management is reserved for those patients for whom a dedicated course of physiotherapy fails to help and involves a shoulder arthroscopy and capsular release, coupled with a manipulation of the shoulder while under anaesthesia to regain the range.

Conditions Managed

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