Current evidence suggests that corticosteroid injection alone expedites the recovery of pain‐free range of motion (ROM) in patients with adhesive capsulitis compared to physiotherapy or placebo. However, it remains unclear whether the addition of hydrodilatation with corticosteroid provides improvement in pain‐free ROM as well as pain relief.
A review of the literature was conducted to determine whether the combined intervention of hydrodilatation and corticosteroid injection expedites restoration of pain‐free ROM compared to a control treatment of corticosteroid injection in patients with adhesive capsulitis.
EMBASE, MEDLINE, and CINAHL were searched from database inception to January 2017. Relevant studies were determined as randomized controlled trials written in English, comparing the outcomes of hydrodilatation and corticosteroid injection to a control group treated with corticosteroid injection alone in patients with adhesive capsulitis. Two independent reviewers assessed manuscripts for study inclusion and extracted data.
A total of 2276 studies were identified through the search, of which 6 randomized controlled studies (involving 410 shoulders) met criteria for inclusion in this review. Mean age ranged from 51‐61 years, with mean symptom duration of 4‐9 months. Studies varied significantly regarding the volume of injectate, anatomical injection approach, symptom duration, and the method of glenohumeral capsule distension (capsular rupture versus preservation). Two studies demonstrated clinically and statistically significant improvement in the combination group at 3‐month follow‐up, and one study demonstrated clinically significant improvement only in ROM and/or pain/functional scales, compared to 3 studies demonstrating no benefit when compared to corticosteroid injection alone.
Combining hydrodilatation with corticosteroid injection potentially expedites recovery of pain‐free ROM. The greatest benefit is experienced within the first 3 months of intervention. Differences in hydrodilatation techniques, inclusion of capsular preservation, anatomical approach, and length of symptoms may explain the variability in efficacy demonstrated. Further trials using larger sample sizes, better anatomical approaches, image guidance, and hydrodilatation techniques are required to determine the true nature of benefits of hydrodilatation with corticosteroid injection.
Level of Evidence