Frozen shoulder and diabetes sufferers have it particularly tough. Conventional treatments such as physical therapy, cortisone injections, and hydrodilatation can be less effective for those who have diabetes. This is due to changes in connective tissue.
Frozen Shoulder and Diabetes
While there is a 2 to 5% incidence of frozen shoulder in the general population, frozen shoulder develops in 10% to 29% of people with diabetes. Not only that, diabetes affects the connective tissues in the body which can complicate frozen shoulder treatment and recovery. These changes are the result of high glucose levels leading to glycosylation of the collagen within the shoulder joint. This glycosylation leads to enhanced cross-linking among collagen molecules.
The changes in connective tissue combine with an exaggerated healing response to shoulder strains or injuries. The result, in the case of frozen shoulder and diabetes sufferers, is an uncontrolled and over-exaggerated inflammation response and an equally uncontrolled and exaggerated healing response. Thus, excessive amounts of scar tissue form over the capsule of the shoulder joint.
Anecdotally, as there are no studies to conclusively prove this, our diabetic frozen shoulder sufferers complain to us that their frozen shoulder adhesions are “sticky” and resistant to conventional treatments like physical therapy. Hydrodilatation, where a saline and cortisone solution is injected directly into the shoulder capsule to try and break apart the adhesions from the inside out, has a higher failure rate as the “sticky” adhesions fail to come apart in the painful procedure.
Are Type 1 Diabetics More Likely To Develop Frozen Shoulder?
Sadly, yes, type 1 diabetics have a greater predisposition to adhesive capsulitis than those with type 2 diabetes. But there are treatments out there that work for those with frozen shoulder and diabetes. Joanna Grant, from Toronto, Canada, is a type 1 diabetic who had frozen shoulder. She was worried and scared about the stickiness of her adhesions—worried that the OAT Procedure wouldn’t be successful. But you can see the results in the video.
If you are diabetic and have frozen shoulder or if you just have frozen shoulder, please speak with one of our educational directors in a free phone consultation. We can even put you in touch with Joanna or other past patients who got their shoulders back after the OAT Procedure to fix frozen shoulder.
Video Transcript below
Dr. Austin Oolo (Dr. O): Good for you.
Assistant: Give her a round of applause!
Dr. O: Really, really good. Yeah.
Joanna: I competitively horseback ride. And I wasn’t riding I was actually just sitting and I just had a shoulder pain. And I thought that’s weird because I normally get injuries when I fall off a horse but it was just kind of an instantaneous pain and it just got worse over the weeks. It just got where I couldn’t move my arm over my head or it got where I could move my arm a little bit but not very much further. I didn’t know what it was so I went for an ultrasound and they said it was frozen shoulder which I’d never even heard of before. Then I googled it and they said it was basically because of all the scar tissue on the shoulder I couldn’t move it so. Did you try different therapies or anything? –I tried hydrodilation. Where I got I guess an injection of a saline solution and steroid. And they said that might break off the scar tissue. But it didn’t. It made the pain a bit less but I think that was due to the cortisone injection.
Dr. O: But it didn’t improve the motion.
Joanna: No, unfortunately…
Dr. O: Let’s see now. Your final go. Go ahead, lift them up.
Joanna: Oh, that’s better!
Dr. O: You see? Much easier.
Dr. O: Incredible, eh?
Joanna: Yeah, that’s much better. That’s… yay! Yeah. No stickiness!
Dr. O: And that’s it. It’s real easy that way.
Joanna: Yeah! The side one is the tough one.
Dr. O: Well congratulations!
Joanna: Thank you!
Dr. O: What do you have to say to all the people that are thinking about getting their life back and fixing their shoulders?
Joanna: I think they should do it and type 1 diabetics don’t be worried because I was scared because I’m type 1 and had worried about the stickiness. And it’s been fine!