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What is AC Joint Separation?

AC joint separation, also known as shoulder separation, is a condition characterised by damage to the ligaments that connect the acromion to the collar bone. As a result, the bones do not line up properly, causing joint pain and instability.
 

Causes of AC Joint Separation

Causes include:
  • A fall on the shoulder
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • A sports injury
  • Repetitive overhead activity

Symptoms of AC Joint Separation

Symptoms include:
  • Pain
  • Weakness in the arm or shoulder
  • Loss of motion
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Diagnosis of AC Joint Separation

Diagnosis can be made based on discussion of your symptoms and a physical examination of the shoulder. A shoulder X-ray may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of AC joint separation.

Treatment for AC Joint Separation

Conservative treatment is usually effective, but in cases of a severely unstable joint, surgery is required. The treatment methods include:

Conservative method:

  • Medications: You will be provided with anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce swelling.
  • Rest: You will be instructed to avoid activities that provoke pain and to make use of a sling to immobilise your shoulder and arm.
  • Ice: An ice pack can be applied for 15-20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Physiotherapy: Specific exercises can be done to help strengthen the shoulder muscles.

Surgery:

Your doctor will make small incisions through which specialised instruments can be inserted to repair and reattach torn ligaments and stabilize the bones.

  • NHS
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • 
British Elbow & Shoulder Society
  • University of Warwick
  • Swor and D

Hospitals Attended

  • Stratford Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Arden St, Stratford-upon-Avon,
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • Nuffield Health
    Warwickshire Hospital

    The Chase, Old Milverton Lane
    Leamington Spa
    CV32 6RW
    Driving Directions


  • Warwick Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Lakin Road, Warwick,
    CV34 5BW
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • The Grafton Suite,
    Building One

    Stratford Hospital, Arden Street
    Stratford-upon-Avon
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nuffield Health
  • 
The Grafton Suite - South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust