Frozen Shoulder Specialist

Maryland Orthopedic Specialists

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Bethesda, MD & Germantown, MD

Frozen shoulder leads to agonizing pain and stiffness that can make even the simplest tasks seem unbearable. You can get treatment right away at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists Division in Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland. James S. Gardiner, MD and Christopher S. Raffo, MD are both board-certified orthopedic surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive procedures for frozen shoulder. They can set you up with an in-house physical therapist and work with you to find a solution that provides relief. Schedule your frozen shoulder evaluation by calling the office or booking online.

Frozen Shoulder Q & A

What is frozen shoulder?

Adhesive capsulitis, more commonly known as frozen shoulder, leads to severe pain and stiffness in your shoulder. Over time, your shoulder gradually becomes more and more immobile.

Frozen shoulder occurs when your shoulder capsule, which surrounds your rotator cuff and shoulder joint, thickens as adhesions develop. This often stems from a decrease in synovial fluid, which lubricates tendons and minimizes wear and tear.

In the early stages, you gradually start experiencing more frequent shoulder pain and decreased the range of motion. This “freezing” stage can last anywhere from six weeks to nine months. As your shoulder continues to stiffen, daily activities become increasingly difficult. This is the “frozen” stage.

Eventually, your shoulder starts to “thaw,” and your range of motion gradually improves. But it can take two years or more to return to normal strength and range of motion.

Why do I have frozen shoulder?

The cause of frozen shoulder isn’t well understood. Medical experts don’t see trends in dominant arms or among persons who perform certain jobs. However, a few factors can increase your risk of developing frozen shoulder, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypo- or hyperthyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

You’re also at risk of developing frozen shoulder after immobilization for an extended period, such as after a fracture or other trauma.

How is frozen shoulder treated?

Most frozen shoulder sufferers find relief through physical therapy. Physical therapy helps restore range of motion and improve shoulder flexibility.

You might also benefit from cortisone steroid injections to improve inflammation. In some cases, your doctor will recommend hydrodilatation therapy, which involves injecting sterile fluid into your shoulder joint to expand and stretch your shoulder capsule.

If these more conservative treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery to help open up your shoulder capsule and provide relief. Surgery is usually best-suited for patients in the “frozen” stage. Dr. Gardiner or Dr. Raffo can evaluate your shoulder to see if surgery is the best option for you. They work directly with the physical therapy team to ensure your frozen shoulder treatment provides the relief you need.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or have frozen shoulder, call or book a consultation online today.