Treatment of "frozen shoulder" with distension and glucorticoid compared with glucorticoid alone. A randomised controlled trial

Scand J Rheumatol. 1998;27(6):425-30. doi: 10.1080/030097498442244.


This study is a comparison of treatments of idiopathic "Frozen Shoulder" (adhesive capsulitis), distension combined with steroid is compared with steroid alone. Evaluation was based on pain scales, analgesic usage, and range of motion outcome scales. Out of one-hundred twenty patients (age, mean 51, range 21-70) that were referred under the diagnosis FS, twenty-six fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the study, but four patients did not want to participate in the trial, giving a total of 22 patients (age, mean 53, range 40-65) in the study. Patients were randomised by the envelope method. Two patients dropped-out, one in each treatment group thus leaving the study with 20 patients for the final statistical analysis. Eight were treated with steroid alone and 12 with distension combined with steroid. Patients received one treatment per week for a six weeks period with a follow-up at 12 weeks. They were evaluated by pain VAS on function and at rest within the study period, the different ranges of motion (ROM) were measured at inclusion time and subsequent afterwards at 3, 6, and 12 weeks. The VAS outcomes showed no difference between the treatments (VAS-function p=0,1; VAS-rest p=0.1), while in the distension group ROM showed significant improvement in all directions except extension (external p=0.0007, flexion p=0.03, extension p=0,01). The analgesic usage was significantly lower in the group treated with distension at the end of the study (p=0.008). A blinded clinical assessment of ROM also showed significant improvement (p=0.002). It is concluded that distension with steroid can seem to help in management of "Frozen Shoulder". Other studies seems to support the conclusion.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bursitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Bursitis / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / administration & dosage
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / analogs & derivatives*
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / therapeutic use
  • Ultrasonography


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide
  • triamcinolone hexacetonide