Frozen Shoulder Treated by Top Orthopedic Doctors

Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand Center - Baltimore

When patients experience shoulder pain or stiffness, they turn to the orthopedic doctors at The Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand Center at Mercy. Mercy's team specializes in diagnosing shoulder conditions, including frozen shoulder, and offering treatment options aimed at getting patients back to normal activities. 

About the Condition

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, most often occurs after the shoulder has been immobile for long periods of time due to stroke, surgery, injury or certain medical conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes or heart disease. Untreated bursitis and tendonitis also can cause frozen shoulder. The shoulder’s bones, tendons and ligaments are contained in a capsule of connective tissue. When this capsule thickens or tightens around the joint, the shoulder can become difficult to move causing the shoulder to freeze.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Frozen shoulder symptoms include:

  • Extremely limited motion
  • Pain when attempting to move the arm
  • Stiffness in the shoulder

Symptoms of frozen shoulder develop gradually and eventually get worse. Often within a year to two years the symptoms will disappear.

Diagnosis of a frozen shoulder most often is made during a physical exam performed by an orthopedic doctor specializing in shoulder conditions. The shoulder specialist will have patients move their arms in certain directions to evaluate pain and range of motion. 

In addition, the orthopedic specialist will move the arm while patients relax their muscles. This test helps to distinguish between frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injury.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Frozen shoulder treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Aggressive therapy program
  • Corticosteroid injections

Most frozen shoulders do not need surgical intervention because they heal on their own. When surgery is needed, treatment options include:

  • Manipulation of the shoulder joint
  • Release of capsule tissue using arthroscopic techniques