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St. Mary's Center for Orthopaedics

Frozen Shoulder

What causes a frozen shoulder?

This extreme stiffness in the shoulder can occur at any age, but occurs most often between 40 to 60 years of age. Although the causes are not completely understood, it can affect people with diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease. It can also occur if the shoulder has been kept immobile for a period of time. It occurs when a minor shoulder injury heals with scar tissue that affects how the joint moves. This scar tissue reduces flexibility in the shoulder and makes it more prone to injury.

What are the symptoms/treatment for a frozen shoulder?

The major symptom is the inability to move the shoulder in any direction without pain. Treatment can be NSAIDs, cortisone injections or physical therapy. You can reduce further injury and stiffness by stretching before starting activities.