First Report on Nine Cases of “Frozen” Hip

Adhesive capsulitis also known as “frozen” shoulder is a common problem, especially among middle-aged women. According to this study it looks like a “frozen hip” or adhesive capsulitis of the hip is also a problem in this group.

Nine cases of hip adhesive capsulitis were identified. Patients were followed for more than a year after treatment. Eight were women who had a good result. The one male had degenerative hip changes and no improvement with treatment. Treatment was with hip manipulation under anesthesia followed by arthroscopic exam.

Manipulation is done by placing the patient’s foot on the opposite knee in a figure-4 position. The patient is lying down on his or her back with the affected hip and knee bent. Gentle pressure is applied until the adhesions are broken. Too much pressure can cause a hip fracture. Gentle stretching of the hip and leg is done while the patient is still anesthetized.

The author reports seeing typical findings of adhesive capsulitis during arthroscopic exam. Besides fibrous debris in the joint, there were tears in the cartilage. In some cases there were also tears of the rim called the labrum. One patient had a torn ligamentum teres. This is the ligament that holds the femur (thigh bone) in the hip socket.

This is the first report of hip adhesive capsulitis. The authors suggest it’s more common than once thought. Early identification of the problem may allow more conservative treatment with physical therapy. Surgery may be needed in more advanced cases.