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Capsulitis is a mild inflammation of the capsule of a joint. The most common form of capsulitis is that which affects the shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). More rarely, the hip can be affected by capsulitis. Capsulitis mainly affects women between 40 and 60 years of age without any real cause. This disease usually heals itself spontaneously within two years.


Permanent and radiating pain, joint stiffness or difficulty in performing certain movements of a limb should push the patient to seek medical attention. The pain is due to the shrinking of the membrane surrounding the joint. Adhesive capsulitis is characterized by:
  • enduring pain;
  • a rigidity of the joint;
  • a slow recovery.

Although it can be incapacitating for daily tasks, albeit for a limited time, capsulitis is in most cases minimally invasive, and will go away in less than two years. It is considered a minor disease.


A first diagnosis is based on clinical examination, sometimes completed by additional tests such as:
  • X-ray;
  • ultrasound;
  • MRI;
  • CT scan;
  • arthrography, bone scintigraphy.

A blood test is also required to detect a possible infectious disease.


Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to reduce the pain at its worst. Infusions or injections of corticosteroids may also be prescribed. The treatment of adhesive capsulitis is completed by rehabilitation treatment prescribed by a physiotherapist.


Capsulitis can be recognized as occupational disease if it is a result of repetitive work. To prevent capsulitis, the intensive repetitive movements of a single joint should be avoided as much as possible. But this being an inflammation that can be triggered for no apparent reason, prevention is not always possible.