Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It begins gradually, worsens over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years. The capsule thickens and becomes tight leading to the formation of stiff bands of tissue. The hallmark sign of this condition is the restriction of active as well as a passive range of motion. During the freezing stage, there is a steep rise in pain with loss of movements. In Frozen stage, stiffness remains in spite of improvement in pain score whereas in thawing stage, both pain and motion gets better with time.


Frozen shoulder commonly affects people between the fifth and sixth decade, and occurs in women more often than men.

Risk factors

Diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and cardiac diseases, prolonged immobilization due to surgery, a fracture, or another injury.


Plain radiographs may show other problems in the shoulder, such as glenohumeral arthritis, acromial spur, acromioclavicular joint arthritis and supraspinatus calcific tendinitis.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound can give better images of problems with soft tissues


Early cases may benefit from oral anti-inflammatory and physiotherapy.

Local injection may be necessary in certain cases.

Recalcitrant and severe cases may need arthroscopic subacromial decompression.