The short term effects of a single corticosteroid injection on the range of motion of the shoulder in patients with isolated acromioclavicular joint arthropathy

Illona Kurta, Sandeep Datir, Michael Dove, Aziz Rahmatalla, Charles Wynn-Jones, Nicola Maffulli
Acta Orthopaedica Belgica 2005, 71 (6): 656-61
This study is aimed at evaluating the short-term effects of a single corticosteroid injection of the acromioclavicular joint on the range of motion of the shoulder joint using a three dimensional electromagnetic tracking system (FASTRAK) in patients with isolated unilateral acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) arthropathy. Eighteen patients (16 male, 2 female; mean age: 47.53 years), with isolated unilateral ACJ arthropathy were included in the study. Injection of the symptomatic ACJ with local anaesthetic and corticosteroid was performed under image intensifier guidance. Bilateral shoulder FASTRAK assessment before and two weeks after injection of the symptomatic ACJ was performed, measuring flexion/extension, anatomical abduction, scapular abduction and horizontal cross body adduction. Pain was measured using a visual analogue scale. There was a significant difference in the range of movement between the symptomatic and asymptomatic shoulder before the injection (p < 0.01). Range of extension and pain score of the symptomatic shoulder improved significantly (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively) after the injection. In patients with radiographical evidence of degenerative ACJ disease, there was also significant improvement in the range of horizontal flexion (p < 0.05). Injection of the ACJ with local anaesthetic and corticosteroid was found to produce short-term pain relief and partial improvement in the range of movement. FASTRAK is useful in the measurement and documentation of range of motion, and can be used to assess the treatment outcome in patients with isolated ACJ arthropathy.

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