Adhesive Capsulitis

  • Matteo Salvatore
  • Carmine Latte
  • Giuseppe Milano
  • Andrea Grasso


Despite extensive research, the adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder is pathology of uncertain etiology and with poor consensus regarding the optimal method of treatment. The first appearance of a description of a pathologic condition of the shoulder generically defined as scapulohumeral periarthritis that leads to stiffness hails in the nineteenth century in France and in the USA. In 1934, Codman first introduced the term “frozen shoulder” to identify a clinical entity difficult to define, to treat, and to explain. Neviaser identified as “adhesive capsulitis” a “chronic inflammatory process involving the capsule of the shoulder causing a thickening and contracture of this structure which secondarily becomes adherent to the humeral head.” Zuckerman and Cuomo defined the condition as a condition characterized by “significant restriction of both active and passive shoulder motion that occurs in the absence of a known intrinsic shoulder disorder.”


Rotator Cuff Triamcinolone Acetonide Capsular Contracture Adhesive Capsulitis Freeze Shoulder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Duplay ES. De la periarthrite scapulo-humerale. Rev Frat Trav Med. 1896;53:226.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Putnam JJ. The treatment of a form of painful periarthritis of the shoulder. Boston Med Surg. 1882;107:536–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Codman EA. The shoulder. Boston: Thomas Todd; 1934. p. 216–24.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Neviaser JS. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. J Bone Joint Surg. 1945;27A:211–22.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zuckerman J, Cuomo F. Frozen shoulder. In: Hawkins R, editor. The shoulder: a balance of mobility and stability. Rosemont: AAOS; 1993:253–67.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wolf JM, Green A. Influence of comorbidity on self-assessment instrument scores of patients with idiopathic adhesive capsulitis. J Bone Joint Surg. 2002;84A:1167–73.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bridgman JF. Periarthritis of the shoulder and diabetes mellitus. Ann Rheum Dis. 1972;31:69–71.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hand C, Clipsham K, Rees JL, Carr AJ. Long-term outcome of frozen shoulder. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2008;17:231–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reeves B. The natural history of the frozen shoulder syndrome. Scand J Rheumatol. 1975;4:193–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shaffer B, Tibone JE, Kerlan RK. Frozen shoulder. A long-term follow-up. J Bone Joint Surg. 1992;74A:738–46.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Helms G, Kuhn T, Moser L, Remmel E, Kreienberg R. Shoulder-arm morbidity in patients with sentinel node biopsy and complete axillary dissection-data from a prospective randomised trial. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2009;35:696–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Patten C, Hillel AD. The 11th nerve syndrome. Accessory nerve palsy or adhesive capsulitis? Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119:215–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Arkkila PE, Kantola IM, Viikari JS, Ronnemaa T. Shoulder capsulitis in type I and II diabetic patients: association with diabetic complications and related diseases. Ann Rheum Dis. 1996;55:907–14.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Thomas SJ, McDougall C, Brown ID, Jaberoo MC, Stearns A, Ashraf R, et al. Prevalence of symptoms and signs of shoulder problems in people with diabetes mellitus. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007;16:748–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yian EH, Contreras R, Sodl JF. Effects of glycemic control on prevalence of diabetic frozen shoulder. J Bone Joint Surg. 2012;94A:919–23.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cakir M, Samanci N, Balci N, Balci MK. Musculoskeletal manifestations in patients with thyroid disease. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2003;59:162–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tuten HR, Young DC, Douoguih WA, Lenhardt KM, Wilkerson JP, Adelaar RS. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder in male cardiac surgery patients. Orthopedics. 2000;23:693–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Riley D, Lang AE, Blair RD, Birnbaum A, Reid B. Frozen shoulder and other shoulder disturbances in Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1989;52:63–6.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bruckner FE, Nye CJ. A prospective study of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder (“frozen shoulder”) in a high risk population. Q J Med. 1981;50:191–204.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gheita TA, Ezzat Y, Sayed S, El-Mardenly G, Hammam W. Musculoskeletal manifestations in patients with malignant disease. Clin Rheumatol. 2010;29:181–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hakim AJ, Cherkas LF, Spector TD, MacGregor AJ. Genetic associations between frozen shoulder and tennis elbow: a female twin study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003;42:739–42.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bunker TD, Anthony PP. The pathology of frozen shoulder. A Dupuytren-like disease. J Bone Joint Surg. 1995;77B:677–83.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Smith SP, Devaraj VS, Bunker TD. The association between frozen shoulder and Dupuytren’s disease. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2001;10:149–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bodor M, Montalvo E. Vaccination-related shoulder dysfunction. Vaccine. 2007;25:585–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Freiss S, Lecocq J, Isner ME, Vautravers P. Frozen shoulder and fluoroquinones. Two case reports. Joint Bone Spine. 2000;67:245–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    De Ponti A, Vigano MG, Taverna E, Sansone V. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder in human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients during highly active antiretroviral therapy. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2006;15:188–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hazleman BL. Frozen shoulder. Surgical disorders of the shoulder. New York: Churchill-Livingstone; 1991. p. 167–79.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Bunker TD, Reilly J, Baird KS, Hamblen DL. Expression of growth factors, cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases in frozen shoulder. J Bone Joint Surg. 2000;82B:768–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kanbe K, Inoue K, Inoue Y, Chen Q. Inducement of mitogen-activated protein kinases in frozen shoulders. J Orthop Sci. 2009;14:56–61.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rodeo SA, Hannafin JA, Tom J, Warren RF, Wickiewicz TL. Immunolocalization of cytokines and their receptors in adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. J Orthop Res. 1997;15:427–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ryu JD, Kirpalani PA, Kim JM, Nam KH, Han CW, Han SH. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and angiogenesis in the diabetic frozen shoulder. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2006;15:679–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Neer 2nd CS, Satterlee CC, Dalsey RM, Flatow EL. The anatomy and potential effects of contracture of the coracohumeral ligament. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1992;280:182–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kim KC, Rhee KJ, Shin HD. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: dimensions of the rotator interval measured with magnetic resonance arthrography. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2009;18:437–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Connell D, Padmanabhan R, Buchbinder R. Adhesive capsulitis: role of MR imaging in differential diagnosis. Eur Radiol. 2002;12:2100–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wiley AM. Arthroscopic appearance of frozen shoulder. Arthroscopy. 1991;7:138–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hannafin JA, DiCarlo ED, Wickiewicz TL, Warren EF. Adhesive capsulitis: capsular fibroplasia of the glenohumeral joint. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1994;3:S5.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Hutchinson JW, Tierney GM, Parsons SL, Davis TR. Dupuytren’s disease and frozen shoulder induced by treatment with a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. J Bone Joint Surg. 1998;80B:907–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Brownlee M, Cerami A, Vlassara H. Advanced glycosylation end products in tissue and the biochemical basis of diabetic complications. N Engl J Med. 1988;318:1315–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Brownlee M, Vlassara H, Cerami A. Nonenzymatic glycosylation and the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. Ann Intern Med. 1984;101:527–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hannafin JA, Chiaia TA. Adhesive capsulitis. A treatment approach. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2000;372:95–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Neviaser RJ, Neviaser TJ. The frozen shoulder. Diagnosis and management. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1987;223:59–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Kelley MJ, McClure PW, Leggin BG. Frozen shoulder: evidence and a proposed model guiding rehabilitation. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39:135–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Carbone S, Gumina S, Vestri AR, Postacchini R. Coracoid pain test: a new clinical sign of shoulder adhesive capsulitis. Int Orthop. 2010;34:385–8.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Rundquist PJ, Anderson DD, Guanche CA, Ludewig PM. Shoulder kinematics in subjects with frozen shoulder. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003;84:1473–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Cyriax J. Textbook of orthopaedic medicine: diagnosis of soft tissue lesions. 7th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1978.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Kelley MJ, Shaffer MA, Kuhn JE, Michener LA, Seitz AL, Uhl TL, et al. Shoulder pain and mobility deficits: adhesive capsulitis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013;43:A1–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Sheridan MA, Hannafin JA. Upper extremity: emphasis on frozen shoulder. Orthop Clin North Am. 2006;37:531–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Leggin B, Kelley MJ, Pontillo M. Impairments and function in patients with frozen shoulder compared to patients with rotator cuff tendonopathy. In: Second International Congress of Shoulder Therapists, Bahia, 2007.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Neviaser JS. Arthrography of the shoulder joint: study of the findings in adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. J Bone Joint Surg. 1962;44A:1321–30.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Loyd JA, Loyd HM. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: arthrographic diagnosis and treatment. South Med J. 1983;76:879–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Binder AI, Bulgen DY, Hazleman BL, Tudor J, Wraight P. Frozen shoulder: an arthrographic and radionuclear scan assessment. Ann Rheum Dis. 1984;43:365–9.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Lee JC, Sykes C, Saifuddin A, Connell D. Adhesive capsulitis: sonographic changes in the rotator cuff interval with arthroscopic correlation. Skeletal Radiol. 2005;34:522–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Lee JC, Guy S, Connell D, Saifuddin A, Lambert S. MRI of the rotator interval of the shoulder. Clin Radiol. 2007;62:416–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Sofka CM, Ciavarra GA, Hannafin JA, Cordasco FA, Potter HG. Magnetic resonance imaging of adhesive capsulitis: correlation with clinical staging. HSS J. 2008;4:164–9.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Neviaser AS, Hannafin JA. Adhesive capsulitis: a review of current treatment. Am J Sports Med. 2010;38:2346–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Green S, Buchbinder R, Hetrick S. Physiotherapy interventions for shoulder pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;2:CD004258.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Levine WN, Kashyap CP, Bak SF, Ahmad CS, Blaine TA, Bigliani LU. Nonoperative management of idiopathic adhesive capsulitis. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007;16:569–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Dangoisse MJ, Wilson DJ, Glynn CJ. MRI and clinical study of an easy and safe technique of suprascapular nerve blockade. Acta Anaesthesiol Belg. 1994;45:49–54.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Farrell CM, Sperling JW, Cofield RH. Manipulation for frozen shoulder: long-term results. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2005;14:480–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Marx RG, Malizia RW, Kenter K, Wickiewicz TL, Hannafin JA. Intra-articular corticosteroid injection for the treatment of idiopathic adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. HSS J. 2007;3:202–7.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Vermeulen HM, Rozing PM, Obermann WR, le Cessie S, Vliet Vlieland TP. Comparison of high-grade and low-grade mobilization techniques in the management of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: randomized controlled trial. Phys Ther. 2006;86:355–68.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Light KE, Nuzik S, Personius W, Barstrom A. Low-load prolonged stretch vs. high-load brief stretch in treating knee contractures. Phys Ther. 1984;64:330–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Roubal PJ, Dobritt D, Placzek JD. Glenohumeral gliding manipulation following interscalene brachial plexus block in patients with adhesive capsulitis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1996;24:66–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Rundquist PJ, Ludewig PM. Patterns of motion loss in subjects with idiopathic loss of shoulder range of motion. Clin Biomech. 2004;19:810–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Downie WW, Bird HA, Wright V, Engler C. Naproxen and indomethacin in periarthritis of the shoulder. Rheumatol Rehabil. 1982;21:51–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Duke O, Zecler E, Grahame R. Anti-inflammatory drugs in periarthritis of the shoulder: a double-blind, between-patient study of naproxen versus indomethacin. Rheumatol Rehabil. 1981;20:54–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Blockey NJ, Wright JK, Kellgren JH. Oral cortisone therapy in periarthritis of the shoulder: a controlled trial. Br Med J. 1954;1:1455–7.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Buchbinder R, Hoving JL, Green S, Hall S, Forbes A, Nash P. Short course prednisolone for adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder or stiff painful shoulder): a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004;63:1460–9.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Binder A, Hazleman BL, Parr G, Roberts S. A controlled study of oral prednisolone in frozen shoulder. Br J Rheumatol. 1986;25:288–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Rizk TE, Pinals RS, Talaiver AS. Corticosteroid injections in adhesive capsulitis: investigation of their value and site. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1991;72:20–2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Bulgen DY, Binder AI, Hazleman BL, Dutton J, Roberts S. Frozen shoulder: prospective clinical study with an evaluation of three treatment regimens. Ann Rheum Dis. 1984;43:353–60.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Van der Windt DA, Koes BW, Deville W, Boeke AJ, de Jong BA, Bouter LM. Effectiveness of corticosteroid injections versus physiotherapy for treatment of painful stiff shoulder in primary care: randomized trial. BMJ. 1998;317:1292–6.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Ryans I, Montgomery A, Galway R, Kernohan WG, McKane R. A randomized controlled trial of intra-articular triamcinolone and/or physiotherapy in shoulder capsulitis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2005;44:529–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Hazleman BL. The painful stiff shoulder. Rheumatol Phys Med. 1972;11:413–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Griggs SM, Ahn A, Green A. Idiopathic adhesive capsulitis: a prospective functional outcome study of nonoperative treatment. J Bone Joint Surg. 2000;82A:1398–407.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Dahan TH, Fortin L, Pelletier M, Petit M, Vadeboncoeur R, Suissa S. Double blind randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of bupivacaine suprascapular nerve blocks in frozen shoulder. J Rheumatol. 2000;27:1464–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Jones DS, Chattopadhyay C. Suprascapular nerve block for the treatment of frozen shoulder in primary care: a randomized trial. Br J Gen Pract. 1999;49:39–41.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Quraishi NA, Johnston P, Bayer J, Crowe M, Chakrabarti AJ. Thawing the frozen shoulder: a randomised trial comparing manipulation under anaesthesia with hydrodilatation. J Bone Joint Surg. 2007;89B:1197–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Buchbinder R, Green S, Youd JM, Johnston RV, Cumpston M. Arthrographic distension for adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;1:CD007005.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Kivimaki J, Pohjolainen T, Malmivaara A, Kannisto M, Guillaume J, Seitsalo S, et al. Manipulation under anesthesia with home exercises versus home exercises alone in the treatment of frozen shoulder: a randomized, controlled trial with 125 patients. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007;16:722–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Conti V. Arthroscopy in rehabilitation. Orthop Clin North Am. 1979;10:709–11.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Pollock RG, Duralde XA, Flatow EL, Bigliani LU. The use of arthroscopy in the treatment of resistant frozen shoulder. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1994;304:30–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Warner JJ, Allen AA, Marks PH, Wong P. Arthroscopic release of postoperative capsular contracture of the shoulder. J Bone Joint Surg. 1997;79A:1151–8.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Ogilvie-Harris DJ, Myerthall S. The diabetic frozen shoulder: arthroscopic release. Arthroscopy. 1997;13:1–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Nicholson GP. Arthroscopic capsular release for stiff shoulders: effect of etiology on outcomes. Arthroscopy. 2003;19:40–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    Jerosch J. 360 degrees arthroscopic capsular release in patients with adhesive capsulitis of the glenohumeral joint: indication, surgical technique, results. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2001;9:178–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Ovesen J, Nielsen S. Anterior and posterior shoulder instability: a cadaver study. Acta Orthop Scand. 1986;57:324–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. 88.
    Snow M, Boutros I, Funk L. Posterior arthroscopic capsular release in frozen shoulder. Arthroscopy. 2009;25:19–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. 89.
    Ozaki J, Nakagawa Y, Sakurai G, Tamai S. Recalcitrant chronic adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: role of contracture of the coracohumeral ligament and rotator interval in pathogenesis and treatment. J Bone Joint Surg. 1989;71A:1511–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matteo Salvatore
    • 1
  • Carmine Latte
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Milano
    • 2
  • Andrea Grasso
    • 1
  1. 1.Orthopaedics and TraumatologyCasa di Cura Villa ValeriaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Catholic University, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery“A. Gemelli” University HospitalRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations