The shoulder joint is essentially comprised of a ball and socket, along with many small muscles and ligaments. The ball, or the head of the upper arm bone (called the humerus), fits into the socket of the shoulder (called the glenoid). Both surfaces are covered in cartilage that allows for smooth motion. In addition, muscles surround the joint to provide strength and support for the shoulder’s high range of motion.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the muscles in the shoulder joint become inflamed and cause the shoulder to develop stiff bands of tissue called adhesions, greatly inhibiting the shoulder’s range of motion. The effects of the condition are gradual, as the pain decreases motion, and the continued decrease in motion causes stiffness, which causes more pain. Unfortunately, it works in almost cyclical nature until shoulder movement is nearly impossible. It occurs most commonly in women and men between 40-60 years of age. There is no real clear cause of frozen shoulder, though at times it can be a symptom of another health problem, such as diabetes.
There are three stages of frozen shoulder:
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Frozen shoulder is characterized by chronic pain and stiffness in the shoulder and upper arm. Generally, the pain is the worst during the “freezing” stage when movement of the shoulder is nearly impossible independently or with help. A physician, such as Dr. Leah Urbanosky of Hinsdale Orthopaedics, will be able to test your range of motion and help determine whether you have frozen.
Symptoms of frozen shoulder include:
The pain from frozen shoulder generally can be relieved through non-surgical treatment options. Physical therapy is the most common healing method although the therapy can be intense. Sometimes, it may require anywhere from months to years of daily training in order to return to full range of motion. Physical rehabilitation is proven to correct 90% of cases of the condition. Therapy may also be paired with steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications to temporarily relieve pain.
In a small percentage of cases, therapy does not improve the condition. In this case, there are a few surgical options. A surgeon, such as Dr. Urbanosky, may simply need to remove some scar tissue in the shoulder in order to return you to full range of motion. Or, shoulder arthroscopy may be recommended, during which the joint is cut to release tension. These procedures are sometimes used in combination to achieve best results. After surgery, therapy is necessary to continue to improve range of motion.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Urbanosky about your shoulder condition, please call: (815) 462-3474.
Labral Tears (including SLAP tear)
Total Shoulder Replacement
Total Shoulder Replacement Animations
Advantage TSR (shown top)
Global TRS (shown bottom)