What Is an Intracapsular (Glenoid) Injection?

Intracapsular (or glenoid) injections are orthopaedic treatments that help relieve pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. This article will walk you through how intracapsular injections work and when they may be a helpful treatment.


Overview of intracapsular (glenoid) injections

The shoulder joint can experience pain and inflammation for a variety of reasons. The intersection of the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) and the glenoid (the rounded socket of the shoulder blade) composes the shoulder joint and is susceptible to problems like arthritis and adhesive capsulitis (or frozen shoulder).

Intracapsular injections involve injecting anti-inflammatory medication into the space between the head of the humerus and the glenoid to relieve chronic inflammation in the shoulder joint. An orthopaedic specialist may recommend this procedure if you have tried other more conservative treatments that have not managed to offer relief.


Causes of inflammation in the shoulder capsule

Typical causes of inflammation in the shoulder joint include

  •       Osteoarthritis from age-related wear-and-tear
  •       Overuse from repetitive stress (as in sports like throwing or swimming)
  •       Rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition that attacks healthy cartilage in the joints)
  •       Damage to cartilage in the shoulder joint from an injury or accident

The shoulder capsule is a band of thick connective tissue that supports the shoulder joint. In a condition called adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, this connective tissue starts to thicken and stiffen as a result of injury or chronic conditions like diabetes.

These conditions and injuries can lead to persistent inflammation in the shoulder that may require orthopaedic treatment.


Symptoms of inflammation in the shoulder capsule

Common symptoms of inflammation within the shoulder capsule include

  •       Persistent pain in the shoulder joint
  •       Stiffness
  •       Limited range of motion
  •       Difficulty moving the shoulder during normal activity
  •       Swelling
  •       Tenderness to the touch

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention to find out if an intracapsular injection is recommended for your individual case.


Treatment for intracapsular inflammation: intracapsular (glenoid) injections

An intracapsular injection is an orthopaedic treatment that can help relieve pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. An orthopaedic specialist will inject anesthesia and anti-inflammatory medication into the space between the two major bones that form the shoulder joint (the humerus and the glenoid). The injection works to neutralize inflammation in the region.

This treatment may be recommended if symptoms have failed to respond to more conservative treatments like over-the-counter pain relievers and physical therapy exercises. In some cases, intracapsular injections may be administered alongside other treatment methods such as regular physical therapy. An orthopaedic doctor will develop the best treatment plan based on the individual situation.


Intracapsular (glenoid) injections at OAR

Intracapsular injections can help offer relief from chronic pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint that may have been making it hard to do the things you love. At OAR, our orthopaedic surgeons and specialists are determined to work with you to find a treatment plan that will help you start feeling like yourself again.

If you’ve been experiencing painful shoulder symptoms, book an appointment with us today!


Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.