Adhesive Capsulitis
(Frozen Shoulder)

Adhesive capsulitis is an inflammatory condition resulting in shoulder stiffness. This can occur due to a variety of reasons including injury, immobilization, disuse, diabetes and thyroid conditions.


Symptoms include a lack of shoulder mobility due to pain especially overhead and rotation.

Evaluation & Treatment

Evaluation begins with a history of the injury, physical examination, and X-rays. MRI or CT scans are not routinely needed but may be done if there is suspicion of a rotator cuff tear.

The goal of treatment is to increase motion and decrease pain. Anti-inflammatory medication and corticosteroid injection are often initial treatments to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy is critical for range of motion. Therapy often takes several months for motion to improve and pain to resolve.

Surgery is indicated in those who have continued pain and stiffness despite the prior described treatments. Arthroscopic capsular release of the tight tissue followed by early physical therapy and range of motion will allow for improvements in range of motion. The arthroscopic release is done through small poke holes.