Dr Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon who subspecializes in shoulder conditions, such as Frozen Shoulder. He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.Book Appointment
A frozen shoulder is a chronic inflammatory condition. The shoulder’s ball and socket joint slowly lose mobility, until it becomes “frozen” as a result of inflammation and scarring of the surrounding shoulder capsule. Having a frozen shoulder limits your range of motion greatly, compromising simple daily activities such as getting dressed or reaching for something, as any movement may cause a great deal of pain. The condition often develops gradually over time and is difficult to detect. This painful condition affects 2-5% of the general population.
The main symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness. The discomfort can range from being mild to severe enough that you may not be able to move your shoulder.
The primary symptoms of a frozen shoulder are usually so subtle that you may not notice them. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of any persistent shoulder pain.
Frozen shoulder generally progresses in 4 stages, with the duration of each phase varying with the timing of treatment interventions. Early detection, together with appropriate treatment methods can help you avoid the undesirable consequences of a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulders can be caused by a variety of reasons.
In most cases, a frozen shoulder happens for no particular reason and is deemed “idopathic”.
It can also be caused by traumatic shoulder injuries, like a shoulder dislocation or a rotator cuff tear. In other cases, the initial trigger of a frozen shoulder can be caused by a simple arm movement such as reaching awkwardly underneath a table to switch on a power point, or even putting on a car seat belt.
Diabetes can also be the underlying cause of a frozen shoulder. Diabetics have a higher risk of getting a frozen shoulder, as collagen within the shoulder joint can become sticky when triggered by the presence of high blood sugars.
The first phase of treatment will always be conservative and non-surgical. In most cases, patients see significant improvements with non-surgical treatment options.
With a frozen shoulder, the shoulder is painful and inflammed, the first line of treatment is to take anti-inflammatory oral medications and pain relievers to help ease your discomfort as you recover.
It is also beneficial to ice and rest the shoulder joint. The ice can help subside the swelling in your shoulder. It is also important to avoid too much movement as it could aggravate the injury.
Physiotherapy is the treatment of injury and disease using noninvasive techniques. It focuses on improving your ability to move and function without pain, boosting your quality of life.
Exercises performed during a physiotherapy session aids in the strengthening of your shoulder muscles and speed up the process of restoring motion in the shoulder. As you build strength in your shoulder, pain can be reduced and your shoulder function can be improved. It also helps to reduce the likelihood of future injuries.
Corticosteroid injections are anti-inflammatory medicine that will be injected directly into your shoulder joint to reduce the inflammation. Nonetheless, repeated injections are discouraged as they may cause further damage to the shoulder.
If your symptoms do not improve with physiotherapy and other conservative methods, you may need to turn to surgical options to treat your frozen shoulder to restore function of your shoulder.
Dr. Ong will assess your symptoms in detail before recommending the right surgical option for your specific injury.
Shoulder Arthroscopic Capsular Release and Manipulation is a common procedure performed for recalcitrant frozen shoulders.
By the time the patient with a frozen shoulder has reached this stage of treatment, the shoulder is likely to have undergone and failed other less invasive treatment methods. This is often due to the severity of inflammation and scarring that is within the affected shoulder joint.
The minimally invasive keyhole surgery is performed with small incisions under general anaesthesia. A small arthroscope camera is used with arthroscopic instruments to safely and carefully release the scarred tissue trapping the shoulder and to reduce the inflammation.
After surgery, compliance to physical therapy is necessary in order to maintain the motion that was achieved with surgery. This duration will vary, but if done consistently and properly, your shoulder should be able to achieve a normal range of motion again.
Yes, it is possible to achieve a full range of motion again after the frozen shoulder injury.
The timeline for recovery depends on a number of factors like the severity of your frozen shoulder, the treatment approach and the adherence to the treatment plan. Full recovery can range from several months to 2 to 3 years.
It is important for patients to understand that the recovery journey may be slow and tedious. Commitment to physiotherapy remains crucial in ensuring complete recovery.
For Singaporeans & Singapore Permanent Residents
Senior Consultant, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho)
Dr Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon. He subspecializes in shoulder and knee, foot and ankle, hand wrist and elbow surgeries, arthroscopic sports surgery, and the management of sports-related injuries.
He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.
Consultation fees are charged based on length of consultation, and start from SGD$150 (within 30 minutes).
We accept the following modes of payment:
If you are insured and would like to use a Letter of Guarantee (LOG) from the major insurers in Singapore, please contact us and our friendly clinic staff will assist you and provide more information if required.
Yes, you can. Our Clinic is an accredited day surgery clinic by the Ministry of Health. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may use their Medisave for eligible orthopaedic inpatient procedures and hospitalizations.
The exact amount would depend on the complexity of the procedure. If you have any enquiries, feel free to speak to our friendly clinic staff about using your Medisave account.
Yes, patients who have purchased Integrated Shield plans with riders for co-insurance and deductibles will be able to use them in our clinic for eligible procedures. For more information, contact us to find out if your procedure is claimable.
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