Single intra-articular steroid injection of the glenohumeral joint in management of adhesive capsulitis: a comparison between approaches


  • Surykanth Kalluraya Department of Orthopaedics, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Hubballi, Karnataka, India
  • Anand Varma Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Hubballi, Karnataka, India
  • Jayaram P. H. Department of Orthopaedics, District hospital, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India



Adhesive capsulitis, Corticosteroids, Glenohumeral joint


Background: Adhesive capsulitis is a common, painful musculoskeletal condition of the shoulder associated with loss of range of motion in the glenohumeral joint resulting from contraction of the glenohumeral joint capsule and adherence to the humeral head. Earlier stages of adhesive capsulitis can be treated by intra-articular steroid injections into the glenohumeral joint. This study was designed to study the role of long acting intra-articular corticosteroid injections in combination with simple therapeutic exercises while comparing the outcome of blinded anterior and posterior injection approaches in the management of adhesive capsulitis.

Methods: The study comprised of 60 subjects aged 18 years and above who were diagnosed with primary adhesive capsulitis. They were randomly divided into 2 groups i.e., Group A who received blind intra-articular steroid injections via standard anterior approach and group B who received blind intra-articular steroid injection via standard posterior approach. Both groups followed up with a simple home based exercise program. Outcome measures assessed were visual analog scale (VAS) score, shoulder pain assessment disability index (SPADI) and passive shoulder range of motion (ROM).

Results: At last follow up, both groups showed statistically significant improvements in all outcome measures i.e., VAS score, SPADI, shoulder ROM. However, comparison between groups did not reveal any statistically significant differences between the two groups.

Conclusions: Intra-articular steroid injections into the glenohumeral joint in conjunction with simple physiotherapy are effective in improving pain, function and shoulder ROM in adhesive capsulitis. Both the anterior and posterior injection approaches provide good results.


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Original Research Articles