Adhesive capsulitis is a common cause of shoulder pain and limited movement. The objectives of this review were to assess the efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections for adhesive capsulitis and to evaluate the optimum dose and anatomical site of injections. PubMed and CENTRAL databases were searched for randomised trials and a total of ten trials were included. Results revealed that corticosteroid injection is superior to placebo and physiotherapy in the short-term (up to 12 weeks). There was no difference in outcomes between corticosteroid injection and oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at 24 weeks. Dosages of intra-articular triamcinolone 20 mg and 40 mg showed identical outcomes, while subacromial and glenohumeral corticosteroid injections had similar efficacy. The use of corticosteroid injections is also generally safe, with infrequent and minor side effects. Physicians may consider corticosteroid injection to treat adhesive capsulitis, especially in the early stages when pain is the predominant presentation.
Participants on corticosteroids were 11% less likely to experience adverse events, but confidence intervals included the null effect ( RR , 95% CI to , I 2 =0%). Participants on corticosteroids were 67% less likely to withdraw because of adverse events, but confidence intervals were wide and included the null effect ( RR , 95% CI to , I 2 =0%). Participants on corticosteroids were 27% less likely to experience any serious adverse event, but confidence intervals were wide and included the null effect ( RR , 95% CI to , I 2 =0%).