Conditions of the Shoulder
Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Dislocation / Separation
The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the highest point of the shoulder blade (acromion). An AC joint separation or dislocation is a common injury among physically active people such as soccer and rugby players. It is commonly caused by a fall directly on the shoulder or a direct blow received in a contact sport. This fall injures the ligaments that surrounds and stabilizes the AC joint. If the force is severe enough, the ligaments attaching to the underside of the clavicle are torn. This causes the “separation” of the collarbone from the scapula (shoulder blade).
Common signs and symptoms of a shoulder separation
- Pain at the moment the injury occurs.
- Limited movement in the shoulder area (because of pain, not weakness).
- Swelling and bruising.
- Tenderness over the AC joint on top of the shoulder.
- Possible deformity. The outer end of the collarbone may look out of place, or there may be a bump on top of the shoulder.
Treatment of a shoulder separation depends on its severity. For minor AC joint separations (Grade I to II), Dr Siow may advise you to wear an arm sling and prescribe some anti-inflammatory medications until the discomfort decreases. Early physiotherapy sessions can strengthen your shoulder and regain range of motion is important for recovery and to prevent stiffness of your shoulder; also known as frozen shoulder. You can return to normal exercises and activities as your pain and other symptoms go away.
Anyone who has Grade III to VI separations most likely will need surgery. Surgery is also an option if conservative medical care does not result in significant improvement.
It is recommended to seek Dr Siow’s professional treatment if you have an AC joint seperation.
Our doctor provides consultation, treatment and surgery for sports injuries of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.
- Same-day admission
- Wheelchair accessible
- X-Ray, CT/MRI scan available