AC Joint Disorders are a group of conditions which affect the acromioclavicular joint and other surrounding structures in the shoulder.
At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment of AC joint disorders aim to:
What Are AC Joint Disorders?
The shoulder has what’s known as the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where two bones meet – one of which is the collarbone (clavicle), the other bone being a part of the shoulder blade (scapula) called the acromion. Tendons and ligaments form the main surrounding structures to the AC joint.
General wear and tear of the joint to contact sports and trauma injuries can affect the AC joint. The three most common AC joint disorders are:
- Arthritis – loss of cartilage at the joint
- Fractures – of the bones compromising the AC joint
- Separations – torn ligaments at the joint (ranging from a Grade I to Grade V, depending on severity)
What Are The Causes Of AC Joint Disorders?
The exact cause and severity of AC joint disorders can vary, however there are some common factors which may contribute to diagnosis. These include:
- Sports-related injuries – contact sports (football, hockey, rugby, etc)
Weightlifters are at higher risk of overloading the joint and developing osetoarthritis in the AC joint
- General wear and tear of the joints and cartilage over time
- Trauma – e.g. car accident
- Sudden blow/force against the shoulder
What Are The Symptoms?
- Pain in the shoulder and upper body
- Mild to moderate aches (arthritis symptoms)
- Severe pain (ligament tears)
- Stiffness/inability to move the arm or shoulder, specifically across the body
- Tenderness over the AC joint and surrounding structures
- Reduced range of movement
- Difficulty sleeping
- Swelling and bruising
- Obvious step deformities (Grade III – V ligament tears)
Treatment For AC Joint Disorders
If you suspect you have an AC joint disorder, it is important to see a medical professional. You will likely be referred for imaging to determine the type and severity of the condition.
Physical therapy is highly beneficial in reducing associated symptoms. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:
- Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
- Restoring range of movement
- Postural improvement
In the event that there is pain and reduced movement is severe, driving and strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck support or a suitable pillow.
How To Book An Appointment?
If you have an AC joint disorder, or are looking for a physiotherapist near me, the team at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.
All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.
You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.