The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the acromion, a part of the shoulder blade (scapula). Acromioclavicular joint disorder refers to a variety of conditions that affect this joint, causing pain and limited mobility in the shoulder.
Some common AC joint disorders include:
AC joint sprain: This occurs when the ligaments that hold the joint together are stretched or torn, often due to a fall or other trauma.
AC joint arthritis: This is a degenerative condition that occurs when the joint's cartilage breaks down over time, leading to pain and stiffness.
AC joint separation: This occurs when the ligaments connecting the collarbone to the shoulder blade are completely torn, causing the collarbone to move out of place.
AC joint osteolysis: This is a condition in which the bone at the end of the collarbone slowly erodes due to overuse or injury.
he treatment for acromioclavicular (AC) joint disorder will depend on the specific condition and the severity of the symptoms. Here are some common treatment options:
Rest and Ice: For mild cases of AC joint disorder, rest and ice may be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation. This may include avoiding activities that aggravate the joint, and applying ice to the affected area for 20-30 minutes several times a day.
Medication: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medication if necessary.
Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint and improve your range of motion. This can be especially helpful for AC joint sprains or arthritis.
Injections: Corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and pain in the joint. However, these injections should be used sparingly, as they can have negative side effects if overused.
Physiotherapy is a common treatment option for acromioclavicular (AC) joint disorder. Here are some examples of how physiotherapy may be used to treat different types of AC joint disorders:
AC joint sprain: A physiotherapist can help you restore range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the joint. This may include gentle exercises and stretches, as well as manual therapy to mobilize the joint and reduce pain and stiffness.
AC joint arthritis: A physiotherapist can help you develop an exercise program to improve your range of motion and strength in the affected shoulder. They may also use modalities such as heat or ice, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation.
AC joint separation: After surgery to repair a separated AC joint, physiotherapy can help you regain strength and mobility in the affected shoulder. Your physiotherapist may use manual therapy, exercises, and modalities to help you recover.
AC joint osteolysis: A physiotherapist can help you modify your activities and develop an exercise program that won't aggravate the joint. They may also use modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and promote healing.