Diabetic Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Welcome to Get Back Physiotherapy Clinic, a trusted provider of comprehensive care for various musculoskeletal conditions.

In this article, we will explore the concept of diabetic frozen shoulder, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Our experienced team of professionals is here to support you on your journey to recovery.

What is Diabetic Frozen Shoulder?

Diabetic frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. It occurs in individuals with diabetes and is believed to be associated with the metabolic changes and complications related to the disease.

How is Diabetes Related to Frozen Shoulder?

1. Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes, can lead to chronic inflammation in the body, including the shoulder joint. This inflammation can contribute to the development of adhesive capsulitis.

2. Glycation: In diabetes, high levels of glucose in the bloodstream can lead to glycation, a process where excess glucose attaches to proteins. Glycation can affect the connective tissues around the shoulder joint, causing them to become stiff and less flexible.

3. Reduced Collagen Production: Diabetes can interfere with collagen synthesis, impairing the body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy connective tissues. This can contribute to the development of scar tissue in the shoulder joint, leading to frozen shoulder.

Diabetic Frozen Shoulder Symptoms:

  1. Gradual onset of shoulder pain
  2. Stiffness and limited range of motion, particularly during external rotation and overhead movements
  3. Pain worsening at night, affecting sleep quality
  4. Difficulty with daily activities that involve the shoulder joint, such as reaching or lifting

Frozen Shoulder in Diabetes Treatment in Etobicoke:

1. Physiotherapy: Our skilled physiotherapist in Etobicoke can design a tailored treatment plan that includes exercises and stretches aimed at improving shoulder mobility, reducing pain, and strengthening the surrounding muscles.

2. Manual Therapy: Techniques like joint mobilization and soft tissue massage can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve shoulder function.

3. Heat and Cold Therapy: Application of heat or cold packs can provide pain relief and help reduce inflammation in the shoulder joint.

4. Medications: In some cases, anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroid injections may be recommended to manage pain and inflammation.

5. Diabetic Management: Effective management of diabetes, including maintaining blood sugar levels within the target range, can help reduce the impact of diabetic frozen shoulder and support the healing process.

Diabetic Frozen Shoulder Exercises:

Specific exercises targeting the shoulder joint can be prescribed by a physiotherapist to improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion.

These exercises should be performed regularly as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Performing specific exercises can be beneficial in managing diabetic frozen shoulder symptoms and improving shoulder mobility.

Here are some exercises that can be incorporated into your treatment plan:

1.Pendulum Swing:

  1. Stand beside a table or chair and lean forward, supporting your unaffected arm on the surface.
  2. Let your affected arm hang down freely.
  3. Gently swing your arm in small circles, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  4. Perform 10-15 swings in each direction, gradually increasing the range of motion.

2.Wall Climbing:

  1. Stand facing a wall, with your fingertips lightly touching the wall at waist level.
  2. Slowly walk your fingers up the wall, raising your arm as high as possible without causing pain.
  3. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then walk your fingers back down.
  4. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, gradually increasing the height reached.

3.Wand Stretch:

  1. Hold a wand, broomstick, or similar object with both hands, palms facing down.
  2. Start with your arms extended in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly raise the wand overhead, keeping your elbows straight.
  4. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then lower the wand back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, focusing on maintaining good posture and avoiding pain.

4.Cross-Body Stretch:

  • Stand or sit upright, with your affected arm relaxed at your side.
  • Reach across your body with your unaffected arm and gently pull the affected arm towards your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in the back of the shoulder.
  • Repeat the stretch 3-5 times, gradually increasing the intensity of the stretch.

5.External Rotation:

  1. Hold a resistance band or towel with both hands, keeping your elbows at your sides and bent to 90 degrees.
  2. Keep your affected arm close to your body and rotate it outward, away from the midline of your body.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Perform 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the resistance or intensity as tolerated.

Collaborative Approach at Get Back Physiotherapy Clinic in Etobicoke:

At our clinic, we take a collaborative approach to address diabetic frozen shoulder. Our team of professionals, including sports and spinal physiotherapists and skilled massage therapists in Etobicoke, work together to provide personalized care and support your recovery.


If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetic frozen shoulder, seek professional help at Get Back Physiotherapy Clinic. Our dedicated sports and spinal physio in Etobicoke will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your specific needs, helping you regain shoulder mobility and improve your overall quality of life.

About Us

We offer physical therapy services with over 13 years of experience. We also offer a holistic approach to your treatment by providing other services like- Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Osteopathy and Chiropractor.

We have Pelvic Floor physiotherapists who can help you with Pelvic pain, Incontinence and Prolapse of Pelvic Organ. Our Therapists are also Trained in treating TMJ or Jaw joint.

We are available for service during weekends and early morning hours on weekdays to help you outside your busy work hours.

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