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First introduced by Codman in 1934, the term frozen shoulder describes a glenohumeral disorder characterised by shoulder pain or limitations, or both on active and passive elevation and external rotation (1).
- the condition is also known as adhesive capsulitis
- commonly seen in people who are in their 50s
The pathophysiology of the condition is unknown.
- thought to result from fibrosis and thickening of the joint capsule and adherence to the humeral head
- can occur in one shoulder or both shoulders simultaneously.
- non-dominant shoulder is slightly more likely to be affected (2)
Frozen shoulder is a self limiting condition
- time from onset to recovery is between 12 - 42 months (3)
- nearly all patients recover, but normal range of movement may never return (2)
- long term disability is seen in 15% of the patients (3)
Frozen shoulder can be
- primary or idiopathic
- secondary to another cause
- most common association is diabetes
- a patient with diabetes has a lifetime risk of 10%-20% of developing frozen shoulder (1)
Last reviewed 01/2018