The shoulder, with the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body, is also one of the most complicated structures in the body. (The shoulder actually includes four different joints.) Because of the shoulder’s wide range of motion, complications may arise when it can’t move around freely or when the complex system of ligaments and muscles can’t keep the joints in the correct relationship. Like any other complex system, the shoulder is prone to various problems that can result from injury, overuse or normal aging.

AC Joint Separation

One example is an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation, which occurs when the collarbone separates from the shoulder blade. The collarbone and the shoulder blade form the socket that holds the upper arm bone. When the AC joint becomes dislocated, the shoulder becomes unstable and painful. Typically, AC joint separation results from a fall or being hit on the shoulder blade, but can also happen from slipping on ice, playing contact sports such as football, or tumbling over the handlebars of a bicycle or motorcycle.

Because the degree of damage varies in an AC joint separation, these injuries are graded from mildest (grade 1) to most severe (grade 6).

Most AC joint separations, especially in people with grade 1 and 2 injuries, can be remedied with physical therapy and conservative treatment; however, surgery may be necessary in more severe cases. Only a physician can properly diagnose an AC joint injury. Most surgical treatments involve reconstructing the ligaments in the shoulder. Once healed from an injury or surgical procedure, you can begin physical therapy to regain full range of motion and strength in your shoulder.

We can guide you to a full recovery by designing a personalized rehabilitation program. With our help, you should soon be able to return to your daily living activities.

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