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Keywords:

  • Surveys;
  • shoulder pain;
  • adhesive capsulitis;
  • shoulder impingement syndrome

Background We aimed to identify the treatments used by health care professionals in current practice for the management of patients with idiopathic frozen shoulder and the need for further research in this area, specifically a randomized trial.

Methods Three hundred and three health care professionals (i.e. general practitioners, physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons) completed an online survey about idiopathic frozen shoulder management and research priorities. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square statistics and thematic analysis of qualitative data.

Results Conservative treatment and physical therapy were identified as the most common interventions for treating patients presenting with frozen shoulder in the early ‘painful’ phase. Approximately half of the respondents would recommend surgery for patients with ‘resolution’ phase frozen shoulder, although there was some disagreement about the role of pain as an indicator for surgery. Most respondents (221/251) considered that more research was needed using a randomized trial design, in particular aiming to investigate the effectiveness of physical therapy and surgery.

Conclusion Health professionals manage frozen shoulders differently for different phases of the condition. More research is needed to compare different interventions for the management of patients with idiopathic frozen shoulder.