Frozen Shoulder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/7/2020

A frozen shoulder is the term that refers to a condition of the shoulder joint medically known as adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) develops as the result of scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the joint capsule.

Signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder include a

Cause of a frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

The cause of adhesive capsulitis is injury to the shoulder of any type. Examples of shoulder injuries that can lead to a frozen shoulder include shoulder bursitis, tendinitis, and rotator cuff injury (rotator cuff syndrome). Risk factors for developing shoulder injury and frozen shoulder include inflammation of the shoulder joint from arthritis, diabetes, and chest or breast surgery.

Other frozen shoulder symptoms and signs

  • Decrease Range of Shoulder Motion
  • Shoulder Pain or Discomfort
  • Stiffness of the Shoulder Joint


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.