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Frozen Shoulder

Published: 03/01/2017


Winter is wonderful but a Frozen Shoulder is a pain.

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a common shoulder condition that often occurs without a cause. Frozen shoulder is associated with pain and stiffness and is often described as having three phases: freezing (painful but not stiff), frozen (painful and stiff), and thawing (less painful and slow improvement of stiffness). Frozen shoulder often goes undiagnosed until the stiffness sets in and is significant enough to be noticed by a doctor. While diabetics have an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder, it can often occur in healthy individuals with no history of injury.

Non-operative evidenced based treatments for frozen shoulder include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and a corticosteroid injection into the shoulder joint. There may be a small role for physiotherapy to maintain shoulder movement and acupuncture to help with pain.

If non-operative treatment works, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist for an intra-articular steroid injection which can be done in clinic on the same day as your specialist visit. In my experience, half of patients will improve with a steroid injection into the shoulder joint. Those who don’t respond to an injection do best with keyhole surgery to release the inflamed scar tissue at the front of the joint to help with pain and improve movement. This is a day-case operation and can be done awake under regional anaesthesia.

If you or a loved one is suffering with a frozen shoulder visit my website for further information and contact us for an appointment.


Mr. Nick Ferran, Consultant Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

Clinics at Chelsea Outpatient Centre

Appointments: 0207 164 6312 

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