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AC Joint Repair

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint connects the clavicle (collarbone) and scapula or shoulder blade. This joint provides minimal movement but allows the shoulder and arm to move as needed for optimum mobility. The most common cause of shoulder pain or dysfunction in this joint is injury, although it can also be affected by arthritis or other degenerative conditions. Jonathan L. Glashow, MD orthopedic surgery and sports injury center provides AC joint repair at our facility in Miami, FL.

Causes of AC Joint Injuries

Trauma to the shoulder can result in ligament sprains or tears in the AC joint. It could also result in separation of the clavicle and scapula. These injuries are not only painful, but they can also limit arm function and cause a visible deformity of the shoulder. Some of the common causes of AC joint injuries or separations include:

  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • Direct hit to the top or tip of the shoulder
  • Landing on the shoulder

These injuries often include ligament tears. The AC and CO ligaments hold the clavicle and scapula bones in place – if they are partially or completely torn, the joint can separate. This can result in shoulder pain, limited arm mobility, a noticeable bump on the tip of the shoulder and shoulder deformity.

Treatment for AC Joint Injuries

Like most joint injuries, many AC joint injuries can be treated without surgery. AC joint sprains with stretched or partial tears to the ligaments can respond to rest, medications and physical therapy to heal the damaged ligaments. For more severe AC joint injuries, especially complete ligament tears, surgical repair may be needed to restore the function and structure of the AC joint.

AC joint injuries are more common among athletes that play contact sports. Basketball, football, hockey and rugby players can have blows to the shoulder or land awkwardly, impacting the AC joint. However, anyone can have damage to an AC joint in an accident, requiring expert medical care for their injury.

If you have an AC joint injury and need treatment or surgery, contact our team at Jonathan L. Glashow, MD. Call our office in Miami, Florida, to schedule an AC joint consultation with one of our shoulder specialists.

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