Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Sprain

The A.C. Joint is a combination of the collarbone and shoulder blade and it forms the top of the shoulder joint. In this joint there are ligaments holding the bones together similar to other joints, and as such can be injured in a similar manner.
The most common cause of injury to this joint is to fall onto the shoulder or with the arm outstretched. There are many levels of severity when it comes to the AC joint, the most common of which is a sprain. An AC joint sprain is characterised by:

  • Tenderness over the top of the shoulder, localised to one spot
  • Pain with movement (especially reaching across the body)


Assessment will involve clearing all other structures that could be involved including the neck, and other areas of the shoulder. Once the AC joint sprain has be identified and diagnosed the following is likely to be included in treatment.

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation to minimise initial damage
  • Slow and steady strengthening program to build up the surrounding muscle
  • Stretches to ensure the ligaments heal in the correct orientation
  • More functional strengthening to get you back to where you need to be.
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