WHAT CAUSES FROZEN SHOULDER?

The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. There is no clear connection to arm dominance or occupation. A few factors may put you more at risk for developing frozen shoulder.

DIABETES: Frozen shoulder occurs much more often in people with diabetes. The reason for this is not known. In addition, diabetic patients with frozen shoulder tend to have a greater degree of stiffness that continues for a longer time before "thawing."

OTHER DISEASES: Some additional medical problems associated with frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac disease.

IMMOBILISATION: Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder has been immobilized for a period of time due to surgery, a fracture, or other injury. Having patients move their shoulders soon after injury or surgery is one measure prescribed to prevent frozen shoulder.


Although many shoulder diseases involve pain and loss of motion, frozen shoulder is most often caused by inflammation (swelling, pain and irritation) of the tissues surrounding the joint. The tissue that envelops the joint and holds it together is called the capsule. Normally the capsule has folds that can expand and contract as the arm moves into various positions. In a frozen shoulder, the capsule has become inflamed and scarring develops. The scar formations are called adhesions. As the capsule's folds become scarred and tightened, shoulder movement becomes restricted and moving the joint becomes painful. This condition is called adhesive (scarring) capsulitis (inflammation of the capsule).


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