Adhesive capsulitis is a common, yet poorly understood, condition causing pain and loss of range of motion in the shoulder. It can occur in isolation or concomitantly with other shoulder conditions (e.g., rotator cuff tendinopathy, bursitis) or diabetes mellitus. It is often self-limited, but can persist for years and may never fully resolve. The diagnosis is usually clinical, although imaging can help rule out other conditions. The differential diagnosis includes acromioclavicular arthropathy, autoimmune disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis), biceps tendinopathy, glenohumeral osteoarthritis, neoplasm, rotator cuff tendinopathy or tear (with or without impingement), and subacromial and subdeltoid bursitis. Several treatment options are commonly used, but few have high-level evidence to support them. Because the condition is often self-limited, observation and reassurance may be considered; however, this may not be acceptable to many patients because of the painful and debilitating nature of the condition. Nonsurgical treatments include analgesics (e.g., acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), oral prednisone, and intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Home exercise regimens and physical therapy are often prescribed. Surgical treatments include manipulation of the joint under anesthesia and capsular release.
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