The acromioclavicular joint, often known as the AC joint, is a joint in the shoulder where bones converge. The clavicle or collarbone is one of the bones. The AC joint helps an individual’s range of motion as he/she raises the arm above the head. Therefore, the range of motion in the arm can be limited if the joint becomes sore or inflamed.
AC joint injuries frequently result from a blow or hit to:
Symptoms of AC injuries often get worse when performing certain activities, such as lifting objects above the head or crossing arms.
They usually include:
Diagnosis of AC Joint Injury
The doctor will conduct an exam to look for symptoms of an AC joint injury. He/she will look at:
An X-ray may be recommended on the shoulder to see the severity of the damage and confirm the collarbone isn’t fractured.
Type I and II AC joint injuries
Doctors recommend the following treatment options for type I and II AC injuries:
Depending on how severe the injury is, the patient will need to wear the sling for a few days to a week or even more. Physical therapy is recommended as soon as possible. The patient should engage in minimal exercises to avoid a frozen shoulder.
Type III AC joint injuries
The treatment team will decide the most suitable treatment option, based on the extent of damage to the joint. The patient may be required to wear a sling and undergo physical therapy. In some instances, the doctor could recommend surgery to fix the torn ligaments.