Adhesive capsulitis, often called Frozen Shoulder, is a condition where the capsule (lining) of the glenohumeral joint becomes thickened and tightens, producing shoulder pain and stiffness.
It can be caused by trauma (including operations to the shoulder), but it also can occur without injury. It is more common in people who have diabetes and also associated with other conditions, such as heart disease.
Adhesive capsulitis has three phases, which do merge:
- Freezing phase – Development of pain and progressive stiffening of the shoulder over a period, usually from 3-9 months.
- Frozen phase – Pain gradually improves although there is relatively little or no improvement in motion. The frozen phase usually lasts from between 4-12 months.
- Thawing phase – Motion improves as does residual pain, typically taking another 12-24 months to increase maximally..