Adhesive Capsulitis and Diabetes

Diabetic patients have an increased risk of developing adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder. Freezing, frozen, and thawing are the three stages of adhesive capsulitis. The freezing stage is characterized by pain and stiffness. Limited mobility in the shoulder corresponds to the frozen stage. In the thawing stage, motion is regained and conditions slowly improve. Inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint are the contributing causes leading to adhesive capsulitits.

Fast Facts:

  • Adhesive capsulitis affects approximately five percent of the general population and twenty percent of patients with diabetes.
  • Diagnosis includes medical history, physical exam, radiography, arthography, and arthoscopy.
  • Treatment options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery.
  • Recovery time may take up to two years with conservative treatment.
  • Approximately sixty percent of patients diagnosed with adhesive capsulitis have some permanent loss of shoulder motion.

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