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Outcomes of ketorolac versus depomedrol infiltrations for subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomized controlled trial



Local subacromial infiltration with steroids is a common method of treatment of subacromial impingement syndrome. However, the use of steroids has concerns like tendon rupture, articular cartilage changes and infections. Local NSAIDs infiltration has recently been tried in literature. This study compares the effect of subacromial injections of ketorolac with steroids.


A randomized controlled study was planned with 35 patients in each group. Patients in group-1 were infiltrated with subacromial ketorolac (60 mg with 2% lignocaine) and in group-2 with a steroid (methylprednisolone-40 mg with 2% lignocaine). A similar rehabilitation protocol was followed, and clinical outcomes were analyzed using visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and shoulder pain and disability score (SPADI) and range of motion at one-month and three-months follow-up.


Total data of 67 patients were analyzed, as three patients were lost to follow-up. In group 1, mean VAS improved from 7.9 \(\pm\) 0.95 to 3.19 \(\pm\) 0.81 (p < 0.001) and SPADI improved from 61.41 \(\pm\) 11.86 to 28.91 \(\pm\) 9.06 (p < 0.001) at three months, respectively. In group 2, mean VAS improved from 8.05 \(\pm\) 0.94 to 2.9 \(\pm\) 0.64 (p < 0.001) and SPADI improved from 63.45 \(\pm\) 9.64 to 25.32 \(\pm\) 6.87 (p < 0.001) at three months, respectively. However, there were no differences in functional outcomes between the groups (p = 0.21 for VAS, p = 0.16 for SPADI).


Subacromial ketorolac infiltration has an equivalent outcome as that of steroid infiltration. Ketorolac could be considered as a reasonable alternative to steroids in cases where it is contraindicated.

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Correspondence to S. S. Sethy.

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Goyal, T., Paul, S., Sethy, S.S. et al. Outcomes of ketorolac versus depomedrol infiltrations for subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Musculoskelet Surg 106, 29–34 (2022).

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  • Shoulder pain
  • Subacromial impingement
  • Subacromial injection
  • Steroid injections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Ketorolac