Addition of intra-articular hyaluronate injection to physical therapy program produces no extra benefits in patients with adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: a randomized controlled trial

Lin-Fen Hsieh, Wei-Chun Hsu, Yi-Jia Lin, Hsiao-Lan Chang, Chiao-Chien Chen, Vincent Huang
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012, 93 (6): 957-64

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of intra-articular hyaluronic acid (HA) injections plus physical therapy (PT) with that of PT alone for the treatment of adhesive capsulitis (AC) of the shoulder.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Rehabilitation and orthopedics department of a private teaching hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=70) with AC of the shoulder were randomly placed into either of the following treatment groups: group 1, HA injections with PT (HAPT group); or group 2, PT alone (PT group).

INTERVENTIONS: The patients in group 1 received intra-articular glenohumeral joint injections of HA, 20mg, once per week for 3 consecutive weeks and also participated in a PT program for 3 months. The patients in group 2 received PT alone.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Active and passive range of motion (ROM) of the affected shoulder, pain, disability, and quality of life.

RESULTS: Both groups experienced improvements in terms of pain, disability, and quality of life after the treatments; furthermore, the active and passive ROM improved linearly with increasing treatment duration. When the groups were compared, no significant group effect was found for any of the outcome measurements.

CONCLUSIONS: Intra-articular HA injections did not produce added benefits for patients with AC of the shoulder who were already receiving PT. Thus, the use of intra-articular HA injections for patients with AC of the shoulder should be carefully assessed to reduce unnecessary medical expenditures.

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