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Oral Steroid Therapy for Frozen Shoulder

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Background: Since frozen shoulder is characterized by spontaneous recovery, no precise treatment strategy exists. Both conservative therapy and arthroscopic surgery is available, but the time required for recovery varies considerably. This study looks at the possible early symptom relief with oral steroid therapy.

Subjects and Methods: The subjects were 76 patients aged 33 to 73 years at the beginning of the study. The duration of the frozen shoulder was one to 15 months (mean 5.7 months) and hypertension was noted in 13 patients as a complicated disorder. A single course of steroid therapy consisted of a total dose of 105 mg of prednisolone over approximately a three-week period by the dose-tapering method. The number of courses varied with the degree of symptom relief, but the rest period between courses was always approximately four weeks. The results were assessed on the basis of the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, but the principal evaluations were pain and range of motion.

Results: The average ranges of motion before treatment were 102.8° of forward flexion 11.3° of external rotation and internal, rotation was at the buttocks. However, after one course of treatment, forward flexion was 136°, external rotation was 33.7°, and internal rotation was limited to the buttocks in only six cases.

Conclusion: The results of oral steroid therapy for frozen shoulder were highly satisfactory. However, sufficient care is required in explaining the method of administration and the adverse effects such as the osteonecrosis of the femoral head or osteoporosis.

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e-Published: 15 Oct, 2013
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