Intraarticular corticosteroids, supervised physiotherapy, or a combination of the two in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: a placebo-controlled trial

Simon Carette, Hélène Moffet, Johanne Tardif, Louis Bessette, Frédéric Morin, Pierre Frémont, Vivian Bykerk, Carter Thorne, Mary Bell, William Bensen, Caty Blanchette
Arthritis and Rheumatism 2003, 48 (3): 829-38

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of a single intraarticular corticosteroid injection, a supervised physiotherapy program, a combination of the two, and placebo in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder.

METHODS: Ninety-three subjects with adhesive capsulitis of <1 year's duration were randomized to 1 of 4 treatment groups: group 1, corticosteroid injection (triamcinolone hexacetonide 40 mg) performed under fluoroscopic guidance followed by 12 sessions of supervised physiotherapy; group 2, corticosteroid injection alone; group 3, saline injection followed by supervised physiotherapy; or group 4, saline injection alone (placebo group). All subjects were taught a simple home exercise program. Subjects were reassessed after 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. The primary outcome measure was improvement in the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) score.

RESULTS: At 6 weeks, the total SPADI scores had improved significantly more in groups 1 and 2 compared with groups 3 and 4 (P = 0.0004). The total range of active and passive motion increased in all groups, with group 1 having significantly greater improvement than the other 3 groups. At 3 months, groups 1 and 2 still showed significantly greater improvement in SPADI scores than group 4. There was no difference between groups 3 and 4 at any of the followup assessments except for greater improvement in the range of shoulder flexion in group 3 at 3 months. At 12 months, all groups had improved to a similar degree with respect to all outcome measures.

CONCLUSION: A single intraarticular injection of corticosteroid administered under fluoroscopy combined with a simple home exercise program is effective in improving shoulder pain and disability in patients with adhesive capsulitis. Adding supervised physiotherapy provides faster improvement in shoulder range of motion. When used alone, supervised physiotherapy is of limited efficacy in the management of adhesive capsulitis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"