Frozen Shoulder

About Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition in which the shoulder becomes painful and stiff due to inflammation and thickening of the capsule (sack) around the shoulder joint.

Often there is no known cause but a minor injury may trigger the condition. Frozen shoulder is associated with diabetes and is also seen in patients with Dupuytrenis contracture.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The condition is described as having three phases. Initially the shoulder is painful and this may be very severe. Gradually the shoulder becomes progressively stiffer. Slowly the pain settles and movement returns ("thawing"). This cycle may take up to 2 years.

Treatment of Frozen Shoulder

Physiotherapy - cannot prevent stiffness from progressing but is helpful in regaining movement once the "thawing" stage is entered.

Injections - cortisone injections into the shoulder have unfortunately not been shown to be of help in resolving the condition. Local anaesthetic injections to nerves around the shoulder may help reduce pain. Injection of water into the shoulder joint under ultrasound guidance (hydrodilatation) may be helpful in relieving symptoms. Surgery is beneficial in helping to reduce pain and restore movement. This may involve manipulating the shoulder under an anaesthetic or keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery in order to divide the capsule (sack) of the shoulder from within in a more controlled manner.

Find a condition


Emergency clinicians

Mr. Brian Cohen
MD FRCS (Tr&Orth)
Mr. Jig Patel
MB BS FRCS (Tr&Orth)
Mr. Rohit Madhav
MB BS FRCS (Tr&Orth)
Mr. R. Lloyd Williams
MB BS FRCS (Tr&Orth)
Mr. Sean Curry
MB BS FRCS (Tr&Orth)