Acromioclavicular Joint

Introduction

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the top of the shoulder, where the acromion (a part of the scapula or shoulder blade) meets the clavicle (collarbone). Injuries to this joint are relatively common, and they can result from a variety of causes. These injuries are often referred to as AC joint sprains or separations. Here’s an overview of the causes, symptoms, and effective physiotherapy treatment for AC joint injuries:

Causes of Acromioclavicular Joint Direct Trauma Sports Injuries Repetitive Overuse

Acromioclavicular joint
  1. Direct Trauma: One of the most common causes of AC joint injuries is a direct blow or trauma to the shoulder, such as a fall or impact. This can lead to damage to the ligaments and surrounding structures.

 

  1. Sports Injuries: Athletes involved in contact sports or activities that put stress on the shoulder, like football, rugby, or cycling, are at higher risk of AC joint injuries.

 

  1. Repetitive Overuse: Over time, repetitive overhead motions, especially in activities like weightlifting or throwing sports, can strain the AC joint and lead to injury.

Symptoms of AC joint injury Pain Swelling Difficulty Weakness Tingling

The symptoms of an AC joint injury can vary in severity, depending on the extent of the damage. Common symptoms include:

– Pain and tenderness over the AC joint.

– Swelling and bruising.

– Limited range of motion in the shoulder.

– A noticeable bump or deformity over the AC joint.

– Pain when moving the shoulder or performing specific movements.

– Weakness in the affected arm.

Effective Treatments for AC joint injuries Rest and Immobilization Pain Management Range of Motion Exercises Strengthening Exercises Manual Therapy Functional Rehabilitation Posture and Movement Education Gradual Return to Activity

Rest and Immobilization

Initially, the physiotherapist may recommend rest and immobilization of the affected shoulder to allow the injury to heal.

Rest and Immobilization
Pain Management

Modalities such as ice, heat, or ultrasound may be used to manage pain and reduce inflammation.

Pain Management
Range of Motion Exercises

Gradual, controlled exercises to improve the range of motion in the shoulder will be prescribed.

Range of Motion Exercises
Strengthening Exercises

Exercises that target the muscles around the shoulder, especially the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers, help restore strength and stability.

Strengthening Exercises
Manual Therapy

Techniques like soft tissue massage and joint mobilizations may be used to improve joint function and reduce muscle tension.

Manual Therapy
Functional Rehabilitation

The physiotherapist will work with the patient on specific functional movements and activities relevant to their daily life or sport.

Functional Rehabilitation
Posture and Movement Education

Education on proper posture and movement techniques to prevent future injuries is an essential component of treatment.

Posture and Movement Education
Gradual Return to Activity

The physiotherapist will guide the individual through a progressive return to their specific activities or sport to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Gradual Return to Activity
Home Exercise Program

You’ll likely be given a set of exercises to perform at home to complement your in-clinic treatments.

Home Exercise Program
Education

Understanding the cause of your elbow pain and learning proper techniques for activities and exercises can be a crucial part of your treatment.

Education

AC joint injury Physiotherapy Treatment

In more severe cases of AC joint injury, surgery may be necessary. Physiotherapy is still crucial post-surgery to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation process. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan tailored to the severity of the injury.

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of AC joint injuries. The primary goals of physiotherapy are to reduce pain, improve range of motion, strengthen the shoulder, and help the individual regain full function. Here are some common physiotherapy treatments for AC joint injuries:

Book an Appointment Today!

    × How can I help you?