Receive Treatment for a Frozen Shoulder in Louisville, KY
The shoulder is a complex and highly mobile joint encased within a stabilizing capsule of connective tissue. Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, occurs when this normally flexible shell thickens and tightens around the bones, ligaments, and tendons inside it. This can “freeze up” the shoulder joint, leading to painful friction during movement. In response to the resulting irritation, the body may produce bands of scar tissue (adhesions) that press on the joint capsule. All of these changes in the structure of the shoulder joint can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.
What Can Cause a Frozen Shoulder to Develop?
The causes of adhesive capsulitis are not yet fully understood. Many experts believe that chronic inflammation—which can result from factors such as a weakened immune system, a hormonal imbalance, or diabetes—may increase the risk of frozen shoulder. Additionally, the condition sometimes develops during prolonged inactivity, such as the recovery period that follows a rotator cuff tear or an arm fracture.
In many cases, frozen shoulder symptoms develop gradually, worsen with time, then resolve within one to three years. Typically, the condition progresses through three distinct stages, each of which can last several months or longer. The stages of a frozen shoulder are:
- Freezing – The shoulder’s range of motion becomes increasingly restricted, making movement difficult and painful.
- Frozen – The pain slowly subsides, then stiffness sets in.
- Thawing – The shoulder’s range of motion gradually begins to increase.
How Is a Frozen Shoulder Treated?
The goals of frozen shoulder treatment are to manage the pain, improve the function of the joint, and promote healing. Many patients benefit from:
- Physical therapy, including targeted stretches and range-of-motion exercises
- Medications, such as pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid injections
To address severe pain or joint dysfunction, arthroscopic surgery may be considered. For instance, to promote free movement, a surgeon may remove adhesions that formed within the shoulder joint capsule.
Consult With a Shoulder Specialist in Louisville
If you have symptoms of a frozen shoulder, don’t wait to seek medical attention. An early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can relieve your discomfort and help you avoid complications. For world-class care and unparalleled expertise, turn to Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. Our outstanding team includes Scott D. Kuiper, M.D., a board-certified and nationally recognized orthopedic surgeon who subspecializes in the treatment of acute and chronic shoulder conditions.
If you would like to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Kuiper, contact Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic today to schedule an appointment to meet with him in Louisville, KY.