Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis can cause shoulder pain and a gradual stiffening of the shoulder joint, leading to severe limitations in activities of daily living.  More often than not a minor injury or overuse event will initiate the scarring of the soft tissue lining of the joint.

This condition most commonly affects middle aged individuals and is more prevalent in women, and in diabetics.  Patients often ignore the symptoms as the initial discomfort may subside, but the stiffness progresses to a point where it impairs their normal activities of daily living including grooming, dressing, overhead work and leisurely activities like golfing, swimming, fishing or gardening.

Disabling symptoms can often persist for over 18 months before slow improvement, but early diagnosis and treatment can lead to quicker resolution and return to normal function.

Photo by KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea


Early evaluation by a shoulder surgeon is instrumental to making the correct diagnosis, and initiating the appropriate treatment protocol including a combination of customized physical therapy, oral medications and injectable steroid regimen.  The conservative approach is generally successful in treating the condition within a few months, but there are instances where surgery is necessary.  Modern arthroscopic techniques have revolutionized our ability to treat this condition by performing a release of the scarred lining of the joint, freeing up the shoulder. This can lead to dramatic improvements in motion and pain with only a brief recovery period after this minimally invasive outpatient surgery.

If you have shoulder pain and suspect the onset of a frozen shoulder it is important to obtain a prompt evaluation.  At Oceana Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, our orthopedic surgeon Virginia Beach brings subspecialty sport medicine and arthroscopy expertise for the management of frozen shoulder, and will help you avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment of your shoulder pain.

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