A survey on surgeon practice shows lack of consensus on the management of primary shoulder stiffness

D Cucchi, S G Walter, A Menon, L de Girolamo, F Luceri, M Agnoletto, L Mangiavini, D C Wirtz, M Friedrich

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Shoulder stiffness is a condition of painful restriction in active and passive glenohumeral range of motion, which can arise spontaneously or as consequence of a known cause. Numerous therapeutic approaches are available; however, no consensus has been reached on the best algorithm for successful treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate local practice patterns regarding management of primary shoulder stiffness. Randomized controlled trials reporting results of shoulder stiffness treatment were collected and analyzed prior to study begin. Controversial elements in the treatment of primary shoulder stiffness were identified and a survey was created and administrated to clinicians participating at an annual national congress dedicated to shoulder pathologies and their treatment. 55 completed questionnaires were collected. Physical therapy was recommended by 98% of the interviewed. The use of oral corticosteroids was considered by 58% and injections of corticosteroids by 60%. Injective therapy with local anaesthetics was considered by 56% of the clinicians and acupuncture by 36%. 38% of the interviewed did never treat shoulder stiffness surgically. Various strategies to manage shoulder stiffness have been proposed and high-level evidence has been published. Numerous controversial points and a substantial lack of consensus emerged both from literature reviews and from this survey. The treatment of shoulder stiffness should be tailored to the patient's clinical situation and the stage of its pathology, aiming primarily at identifying risk factors for recurrence, reducing pain, restoring range of motion and function and shortening the duration of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67. Congress of the Italian Orthopaedic Research Society
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number4 Suppl. 3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 2020


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