Frozen shoulder: Do steroid injections help?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition that can be triggered by an injury or surgery and can be associated with certain conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, and Parkinson disease.  In this video, Dr. Raj Carmona discusses what causes frozen shoulder, the three distinct phases, and the range of treatment options, including the evidence for the use of steroid injections. Meet Glenda and find out what advice Dr. Carmona has for her.


Learn the answers to the following questions: 

  • 1:44 - What is frozen shoulder?
  • 3:10 - Can it recur?
  • 3:28 - What are the causes?  
  • 5:34 - How is frozen shoulder diagnosed? 
  • 8:29 - What are the treatment options? 
  • 13:01 - Can steroid injections help?
  • 15:54 - What advice is there for Glenda?

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  1. McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. In people with frozen shoulder, steroid injections reduce pain and improve shoulder mobility for up to 6 months. (2017 Oct 7). Accessed January 28, 2022. Available from:
  2. Sun Y, Zhang P, Liu S, Li H, Jiang J, Chen S, Chen J. Intra-articular Steroid Injection for Frozen Shoulder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials With Trial Sequential Analysis. Am J Sports Med. 2017 Jul;45(9):2171-2179.
  3. Skinner HB. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Orthopedics. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014.
  4. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Frozen Shoulder. (2018 Mar). Accessed January 28, 2022. Available from:
  5. Dias R, Cutts S, Massoud S. Frozen shoulder. BMJ. 2005;331(7530):1453-1456.
  6. Abdelshafi ME, Yosry M, Elmulla AF, et al. Relief of chronic shoulder pain: a comparative study of three approaches. Middle East Journal of Anaesthesiology. 2011 Feb;21(1):83-92.



This work is supported through the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and funds provided by the Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

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