Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) is characterized by loss of range of motion in the shoulder and pain due to irritation, inflammation and contracture (scarring and tightening) of the capsule and ligaments of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. The capsule and ligaments of the shoulder connect the head of the humerus (ball of the upper arm bone) to the glenoid (socket) of the shoulder joint. Typically, the capsule and ligaments are redundant (loose) to allow the shoulder to move through a large range of motion and they only get taught at the extremes of motion to keep the shoulder from dislocating. In adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), inflammation of the lining of the capsule and ligaments causes them to scar, thicken, and contract (shorten) which tightens up the shoulder, restricts movement, and causes pain.
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