You are here

AC joint injury (Shoulder separation)

Injuries to the shoulder joint are common.  In a shoulder separation (also known as an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation), the joint of the clavicle and the scapula is disrupted.

This is often the result of direct trauma to the shoulder. AC joint separation symptoms may include shoulder instability and pain, especially when making overhead movements, crossbody movements, or during sleep.  There may also be a pronounced bump or bulge at the joint line on the top of the shoulder.

Grades and treatments

Grade I:

Partial tear with less than 25% elevation

Treatment: Cross taping, ice, physical therapy program

Grade 2:

50% tear with partial elevation

Treatment: Cross taping, ice, physical therapy program 

Grade 3:

Complete rupture of all ligaments

Treatment: Surgical repair with donor tendon

 

Dr. Stone says ...

Most of my overhead athletes want their AC joint repaired as it restores length and stability to the shoulder. My repair technique preserves the end of the clavicle and rebuilds the key ligaments that are torn with new donor tissue. Combined with immediate rehabilitation, the repair has proven solid for most athletes. The cosmetic outcome is also much preferred.

If you have severe knee pain or chronic knee inflammation and swelling which cannot be improved by minor surgery or physical therapy, a doctor may recommend that you have total knee replacement surgery.
You are told you have a shoulder separation or AC joint dislocation. Now what do you do?
While elite cyclists, with prize money and international rankings at stake, get straight back onto their bikes with broken clavicles, the rest of us tend to be more sensible in our approach to healing.
December 1st, 2013
What can you do if you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis but told to wait for a knee replacement? Is it possible to...
October 30th, 2014
Dr. Stone talks passionately about biologic knee replacements and more on ESPN radio: How to avoid bone on bone...
April 22nd, 2014
A major triumph for a company founded by Kevin R. Stone, M.D. The Z-Lig™ is the first engineered biologic device for...

Stone, K.R., A.W. Walgenbach, A. Freyer, T.J. Turek, and D.P. Speer. 2006.

Meniscus transplant and articular cartilage repair

Stone, K.R., A.W. Walgenbach, T.J. Turek, A. Freyer, and M.D. Hill. 2006.