AC Joint Separation
(Acromioclavicular Joint Separation; Shoulder Separation)
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- Falling directly onto the shoulder—most common cause
- Being hit on the point of the shoulder blade
- Falling on an outstretched arm
- Playing certain sports, such as football, hockey, or lacrosse
- Sports that may involve falls like cycling, skiing, or gymnastics
- Increased age
- Tenderness or pain over the joint
- A popping sensation in the joint
- A bump on the shoulder
- Trimming back the end of the collarbone so that it does not rub against the shoulder blade
- Reconstructing the ligaments that attach to the underside of the collarbone
- Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the shoulder.
- Exercise regularly to maintain strength, mobility, and to prevent falls.
- Learn the proper technique and wear protective equipment for exercise and sporting activities.
- Clean spills and slippery areas right away.
- Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and shower or tub.
- Put in handrails on both sides of the stairways.
- Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls.
- Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org
Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
The AC (acromioclavicular) joint. Southern California Orthopedic Institute website. Available at: http://www.scoi.com/patient-resources/patient-education/ac-acromioclavicular-joint. Accessed December 3, 2013.
AC joint injuries. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.sportsmed.org/uploadedFiles/Content/Patient/Sports%5FTips/ST%20AC%20Joint%20Injuries%2008.pdf. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Orthopaedic-Center/Clinical-Programs/Sports-Medicine/Acromioclavicular-AC-Joint-Separation.aspx. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 6, 2012. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Acromioclavicular joint separation. Orthogate website. Available at: http://www.orthogate.org/patient-education/shoulder/acromioclavicular-joint-separation. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Shoulder separation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00033. Updated October 2007. Accessed December 3, 2013.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell PT, DPT
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 02/17/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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