Frozen shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis

Our orthopaedic experts can help relieve the pain of a frozen shoulder and work with you to restore movement

What is a frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder is when the lining tissue of the shoulder joint (glenhumeral) thickens and stiffens. The cause is unknown but injuries can trigger frozen shoulder, and it's more common in people with diabetes.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of a frozen shoulder? icon plus

    Overall, stiffness and pain are the main symptoms of a frozen shoulder. It may literally feel frozen, and impossible to move.

    There tends to be three stages:

    • The first stage is a sharp pain when you try and move your shoulder. This usually gets worse at night and can last between six to nine months
    • The second is the frozen stage, where your shoulder becomes less painful but very stiff. This lasts between four months to a year.
    • The third is where your shoulder slowly returns to normal — this can take up to five years
  • Diagnosing a frozen shoulder icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you to help make a diagnosis. Your shoulder will be examined. They may refer you for an X-ray or MRI scan to ensure there are no other causes of your shoulder pain.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    A frozen shoulder is treated according to your symptoms. You may be offered the following treatment:

    • physiotherapy to optimise muscle and joint recovery
    • a steroid injection (hydrodistension), to reduce pain, improve movement and make physio less uncomfortable
    • a keyhole operation to release the restricting tissues

Our shoulder consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in shoulder problems and injuries, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex orthopaedic surgery to diagnostic tests and physiotherapy, we provide exceptional musculoskeletal care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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