Adhesive Capsulitis

Shoulder injuries are extremely common in active men in their 5th and 6th decades. Activities like golfing and swimming make these injuries even more prevalent, but the common misconception with shoulder injuries is “it has to be rotator cuff related” and the truth of the matter is, no it does not. One condition that is often confused with other shoulder condition is adhesive capsulitis, also know as a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder has been defined by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons as: "A condition of varying severity characterized by the gradual development of global limitation of active and passive shoulder motion where radiographic findings other than osteopenia are absent."  The condition is also characterized by severe shoulder pain. Adhesive capsulitis can be primary or can happen secondary to another injury (Gordon, Breitbart, Austin, Photopulos, & Kelly, 2016). It is also typically described as experienced in phases. First, an initial, painful phase with development of diffuse, severe, and disabling shoulder pain that is worse at night, and increasing stiffness that lasts for two to nine months. Second, an intermediate phase with stiffness and severe loss of shoulder motion, but with pain becoming gradually less pronounced, that lasts for 4 to 12 months. Finally, there is a recovery phase with a gradual return of range of motion that takes from 5 to 24 months to complete. This condition is typically diagnosed with physical examination by a medical provider and diagnostic imaging like Xray, MRI, and/or musculoskeletal ultrasound (Zappia, et al, 2016), like that done at Scottsdale Sports Medicine institute. This type of injury can require physical therapy, steroid injections, or even oral steroids. So, if you are having shoulder pain come see us at Scottsdale Sports Medicine Institute and get some answers! Dr. Carfagno and his fantastic staff are well versed in treating all types of shoulder injuries. So make an appointment today at 480-664-4615. #goodbyeshoulderpain #SSMI #frozenshoulder


Gordon, J. A., Breitbart, E., Austin, D. C., Photopoulos, C. D., & Kelly, J. D. (2016). Adhesive Capsulitis: Diagnosis, Etiology, and Treatment Strategies. In Elite Techniques in Shoulder Arthroscopy (pp. 149-168). Springer, Cham.

Zappia, M., Di Pietto, F., Aliprandi, A., Pozza, S., De Petro, P., Muda, A., & Sconfienza, L. M. (2016). Multi-modal imaging of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. Insights into imaging, 7(3), 365-371.