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Clin Should Elbow. 2018 Jun;21(2):82-86. English. Original Article.
Gwark JY , Gahlot N , Kam M , Park HB .
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Gyeongsang National University Changwon Hospital, Changwon, Korea.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Science, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea.


Although a common shoulder disease, there are no accepted classification criteria for frozen shoulder (FS). This study therefore aimed to evaluate the accuracy of the conventionally used FS classification system.


Primary FS patients (n=168) who visited our clinic from January 2010 to July 2015 were included in the study. After confirming restrictions of the glenohumeral joint motion and absence of history of systemic disease, trauma, shoulder surgery, shoulder muscle weakness, or specific x-ray abnormalities, the Zuckerman and Rokito's classification was employed for diagnosing primary FS. Following clinical diagnosis, each patient underwent a shoulder magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and blood tests (lipid profile, glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and thyroid function). Based on the results of the blood tests and MRIs, the patients were reclassified, using the criteria proposed by Zuckerman and Rokito.


New diagnoses were ascertained including blood test results (16 patients with diabetes, 43 with thyroid abnormalities, and 149 with dyslipidemia), and MRI revealed intra-articular lesions in 81 patients (48.2%). After re-categorization based on the above findings, only 5 patients (3.0%) were classified having primary FS. The remaining 163 patients (97.0%) had either undiagnosed systemic or intrinsic abnormalities (89 patients), whereas 74 patients had both.


These findings demonstrate that most patients clinically diagnosed with primary FS had undiagnosed systemic abnormalities and/or intra-articular pathologies. Therefore, a modification of the Zuckerman and Rokito's classification system for FS may be required to include the frequent combinations, rather than having a separate representation of systemic abnormalities and intrinsic causes.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.