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Objectives: The Anti-Freaze-F trial will assess the feasibility of conducting a large randomised controlled trial to assess whether intra-articular injection of anti-TNF (adalimumab) can reduce pain and improve function in people with pain predominant early stage frozen shoulder. Methods and analysis: We are conducting a multi-centre, randomised feasibility study, with an embedded qualitative sub-study. We will recruit adults ≥18 years with a new episode of shoulder pain attributable to early stage frozen shoulder, recruited from at least five UK NHS musculoskeletal and related physiotherapy services. Participants (n=84) will be randomised (centralised computer generated 1:1 allocation) to receive either: 1) intra-articular injection of anti-TNF (adalimumab 160mg) or 2) placebo injection (saline [0.9% sodium chloride]), both under ultrasound guidance. A second injection of the allocated treatment (adalimumab 80mg) or equivalent volume of placebo will be administered 2-3 weeks later. All participants will receive a physiotherapy advice leaflet providing education and advice about frozen shoulder and pain management. The primary feasibility objectives are: 1) the ability to screen and identify potential participants with pain predominant early stage frozen shoulder; 2) willingness of eligible participants to consent and be randomised to intervention; 3) practicalities of delivering the intervention, including time to first injection and number of participants receiving second injection; 4) standard deviation of the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) score and attrition rate at 3 months from baseline in order to estimate the sample size for a definitive trial. We will also assess follow up rates and viability of patient-reported outcome measures and range of shoulder motion for a definitive trial.  Research Ethics Committee approval (REC 21/NE/0214). Trial registration number: ISRCTN 27075727; EudraCT number: 2021-003509-23; NCT05299242.

Original publication




Journal article


Nihr open research


National Institute for Health and Care Research

Publication Date





28 - 28