Glenohumeral corticosteroid injections in adhesive capsulitis: A systematic search and review

Amos Song, Laurence D. Higgins, Joel Newman, Nitin B. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the literature on outcomes of corticosteroid injections for adhesive capsulitis, and, in particular, image-guided corticosteroid injections. Type: Systematic search and review. Literature Survey: The databases used were PubMed (1966-present), EMBASE (1947-present), Web of Science (1900-present), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Upon reviewing full-text articles of these studies, a total of 25 studies were identified for inclusion. The final yield included 7 prospective studies, 16 randomized trials, and 2 retrospective studies. Methodology: This systematic review was formatted by using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Study criteria were limited to clinical trials, prospective studies, and retrospective studies that specifically evaluated intra-articular corticosteroid injections, both alone and in combination with other treatment modalities, for shoulder adhesive capsulitis. We included studies that were not randomized control trials because our review was not a meta-analysis. Data items extracted from each study included the following: study design, study population, mean patient age, duration of study, duration of symptoms, intervention, single or multiple injections, location of injections, control population, follow-up duration, and outcome measurements. A percentage change in outcome measurements was calculated when corresponding data were available. Risk of bias in individual studies was assessed when appropriate. Synthesis: All the studies involved at least 1 corticosteroid injection intended for placement in the glenohumeral joint, but only 8 studies used image guidance for all injections. Seven of these studies reported statistically significant improvements in range of motion at or before 12 weeks of follow-up. Ninety-two percent of all the studies documented a greater improvement in either visual analog pain scores or range of motion after corticosteroid injections in the first 1-6 weeks compared with the control or comparison group. Conclusions: Corticosteroid injections offer rapid pain relief in the short-term (particularly in the first 6 weeks) for adhesive capsulitis. Long-term outcomes seem to be similar to other treatments, including placebo. The added benefit of image-guided corticosteroid injections in improving shoulder outcomes needs further assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1156
Number of pages14
JournalPM and R
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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