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Current Issue - July 2023, Volume 17, Issue No. 2

Official Journal of Malaysian Orthopaedic Association and ASEAN Orthopaedic Association

Adhesive Capsulitis Secondary to COVID-19 Vaccination - A Case Series


Introduction: Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) is a group of pathologies defined by pain and stiffness after intramuscular administration of vaccine to the upper arm and has been reported after COVID-19 vaccination. We aim to discuss its pathophysiology, clinical presentation, treatment and outcomes.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively identified patients presenting with adhesive capsulitis within four weeks of administration of COVID-19 vaccine to the affected arm at our tertiary institution from March 2021 to December 2022.

Result: Based on the above criteria, we identified seven cases of adhesive capsulitis, comprising one male and six female patients, with average age of 60 years. We present initial symptoms, signs and the duration from when the vaccine was administered. We have highlighted our treatment strategies as well as the clinical and functional outcomes reported by these patients after treatment. We have reported improvement in both Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and range of motion (ROM) in all our patients after non-surgical management which included physiotherapy and, in some cases, hydrodilatation.

Conclusion: SIRVA related adhesive capsulitis is rare and under-reported with limited information in current literature. This study highlights that adhesive capsulitis is a potential complication arising from improper COVID-19 vaccine administration and reinforces traditional wisdom of administering vaccinations on the non-dominant arm. Conservative treatment strategies appear to be effective, particularly hydrodilatation combined with physiotherapy, and patients are expected to have a good return of function.

Abstract   |   Reference

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The Malaysian Orthopaedic Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year in both print and electronic online version. The purpose of this journal is to publish original research studies, evaluation of current practices and case reports in various subspecialties of orthopaedics and traumatology, as well as associated fields like basic science, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation medicine and nursing.

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