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Services Sports Medicine AC Joint Separation

AC Joint Separation

AC Joint Injury and Arthritis Treatment in Glendale, CA

Board-certified orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Vahan Cepkinian and Dr. Ryan Morgan are dedicated to providing the best in orthopaedic care for patients suffering from an AC root injury in Glendale, CA. They will take the time to provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis to help determine the best treatment option for you. For more information, contact our office at 818-547-0608 and schedule an appointment today!

What is an AC Joint?

The AC joint stands for acromioclavicular joint. It is the small joint at the top of the shoulder between the acromion (top part of the shoulder blade) and the clavicle. This joint can be injured by a direct fall onto the shoulder or from repetitive overhead motion. It is often referred to as the ‘weightlifters joint’ because many weightlifters experience pain there after repetitive heavy lifting.

What Can Lead to an AC Joint Injury?

A direct blow to the shoulder can lead to an AC joint injury. This is commonly referred to as a shoulder separation. AC joint separations occur in varying types, 1 through 6. The degree of damage to the ligaments around the AC joint determines the type.

  • Type 1 involves a sprain of the ligaments.
  • Type 2involves tearing the ligaments at the AC joint.
  • Type 3 involves tearing of the ligaments both at the AC joint and the ligaments that attach the clavicle to another part of the shoulder blade called the coracoid.

How Do You Treat an AC Joint Injury?

Most of these injuries are types 1 or 2 and can be treated non-operatively. Some high-grade injuries may require operative intervention. Initial treatment consists of a sling for about 4-6 weeks, physical therapy, and gradual resumption of activity. Surgery, if required, places the joint back in place and secures it with stitches and a graft to reconstruct the ligaments that were torn. Full recovery from surgery can take 4-6months.

What is AC Joint Arthritis?

AC joint arthritis is a common source of pain at the top of the shoulder. This occurs from repetitive overhead use and lifting. Arthritis is due to wearing away of the cartilage coating at the joint. AC joint arthritis pain is treated with anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and physical therapy. If pain persists, cortisone injections can be used. If all non-operative treatment fails, surgery can be performed to remove a portion of the clavicle, thereby removing the arthritis.

If you have sustained an injury to the AC joint or have on-going pain, contact us at Glendale Orthopedics!

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