Orthopedic Surgeon near Seattle, WA

Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Kirkland, WA

What is Adhesive Capsulitis?

Frozen shoulder describes all causes of motion loss in the shoulder. The most common reason for loss of motion is a condition known as adhesive capsulitis. In adhesive capsulitis, the shoulder capsule becomes stiff, leading to limited range of motion of the shoulder. The joint capsule is a watertight sac that encloses the joint and the fluid that lubricates it. The shoulder capsule becomes stiff because of a combination of inflammation and fribrosis (scarring of the capsule).

Dr. Robin Fuchs is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon that specializes in the diaagnosis and treatment of frozen shoulder and other conditions affecting the shoulder. If you have a shoulder injurt or are experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder, please call (425) 823-4000 or request an appointment online to schedule your visit at our orthopedic clinic in Kirkland, WA.


Why people develop adhesive capsulitis is unknown. Women are more commonly affected than men. Risk factors include diabetes, thyroid disease, and heart disease. The majority of people who develop adhesive capsulitis have no known risk factors. It can also occur if the shoulder has been immobilized for a long period of time.

Adhesive capsulitis is traditionally split into three phases. The first phase is the “inflammatory phase.” During this phase the shoulder is very painful and range of motion is only limited by pain. This phase typically lasts several months. The second phase is the “freezing phase.” The shoulder capsule becomes progressively more stiff during this phase and true limitation of motion develops. By the end of this phase, the shoulder is very stiff but is only painful at the end ranges of motion. This phase can last three to nine months. The last phase is the “thawing phase” during which shoulder range of motion and pain progressively improve, which typically lasts a year. The entire process can take up to two years to resolve.

What are the Best Treatment Methods for a Frozen Shoulder?

Treatment for adhesive capsulitis includes anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to try to maintain or improve motion. An injection of steroid (or cortisone) can sometimes improve symptoms. If this is unsuccessful, a manipulation under anesthesia usually leads to rapid improvement in symptoms. This involves being put to sleep by Dr. Fuchs for a few minutes while the shoulder is manipulated and the scar tissue is broken up. Occasionally, patients in the Seattle area will require an arthroscopic procedure to break up the scar tissue.

Schedule Your Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Kirkland Today

If you are experincing limited mobility in your shoulder and suspect it may be frozen shoulder, contact Dr. Robin Fuchs to discuss your diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Fuchs is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the treatment of shoulder conditions at his orthopedic clinic in Kirkland, WA. To schedule your frozen shoulder treatment with Dr. Fuchs, please call (425) 823-4000 or request an appointment through our secure online form.

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