This problem is caused by a trauma to the shoulder, such as:
- Falling directly onto the shoulder—most common cause
- Being hit on the point of the shoulder blade
- Falling on an outstretched arm
Problems may be:
- Pain and tenderness over the joint
- A popping feeling in the joint
- A bump on the shoulder
Healing time depends on how badly the joint was injured. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. Medicine can help. Other options are:
- A sling to prevent the shoulder from moving and give it time to heal
- Ice packs to ease pain and swelling
- Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion
Surgery may be needed if the AC joint separation is severe. Options are:
- Trimming back the end of the collarbone—so it does not rub against the shoulder blade
- Reconstructing the ligaments that attach to the underside of the collarbone
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.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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