What is an AC Joint Injury? There are a number of ligaments which help to stabilise this joint. An acromioclavicular joint sprain refers to an ac joint pain where the ligaments supporting the acromioclavicular joint are overstretched. What is the AC Joint?
When the acromioclavicular joint is disrupted, it is called a shoulder separation and can form a «step» if displaced. AC separation or an AC joint sprain. What Causes an AC Joint Injury? You acromioclavicular joint may also be injured indirectly when a person falls on an outstretched arm. The ligaments are overstretched and damaged in the process.
Pain on the top of the shoulder aggravated by heavy lifting, overhead and across body movements. AC joint may be seen or felt at the tip of the shoulder bones. X-rays should be performed to ensure there is no fracture of these bones. Clavicle fractures from falls are particularly common. If the diagnosis is unclear, X-rays while holding a weight in your hand may be helpful. AC joint instability and better show the effects of the separated shoulder.
Most patients with acromioclavicular joint injury start to feel better within a few days or a week of the injury. During this time it is important to protect your AC joint ligaments from overstretching the immature scar tissue. Normalise joint range of motion. Improve your shoulder blade and shoulder alignment. Improve your upper limb proprioception.
Improve your technique and function eg lifting, overhead activities. Minimise your chance of re-injury as you return to sport or work. In severe cases, some patients choose to undergo AC joint surgery to pin the AC joint or repair the damaged ligaments surrounding the AC joint. Post-operative rehabilitation is one of the most important, yet too often neglected, aspects of surgery. Your rehabilitation following shoulder surgery focuses on restoring full shoulder motion, strength, power and endurance. Risks of surgery include infection, persistent instability and pain, stiffness, and difficulty returning to your previous level of activity.
When returning to sport, it is important that you undergo a graduated transition to avoid the risk of injury recurrence. For more information, please ask the advice of your physiotherapist. What are the Healing Phases? What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
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