Adhesive capsulitis of the hip: three case reports.
PURPOSE: To describe the diagnosis and treatment of adhesive capsulitis of the hip (ACH). METHOD: A literature review and consideration of three case reports. DISCUSSION: Adhesive capsulitis of the hip is a supposedly rare but probably underestimated condition which predominantly affects middle-aged women. Clinical assessment reveals a painful limitation of joint mobility. The diagnosis is confirmed by arthrography, where the crucial factor is a joint capacity below 12ml. Osteoarthritis and complex regional pain syndrome type 1 are the two main differential diagnoses. Whether the treatment is pharmacological, physical or surgical depends on the aetiology of the condition. Physiotherapy is essential for limiting residual deficits and functional impairments. CONCLUSION: Adhesive capsulitis of the hip is probably more common than suggested by the limited medical literature. The condition is frequently idiopathic but can be secondary to another joint pathology. The first-line treatment consists of sustained-release corticosteroid intra-articular injections and physical therapy. Arthroscopy and manipulation under anaesthesia may be useful in cases of ACH which are refractory to treatment.