A very frequent injury to occur among physically active people is “acromioclavicular joint separation,” or AC separation. This type of injury occurs when the clavicle (collar bone) separates from the scapular (shoulder blade). This is typically due to a fall directly on the “point” of the shoulder or a direct blow that happens during a contact sport. Football players and cyclists who fall over the handlebars common are subject to such injuries. Read on to learn more about an AC separation from top orthopedic surgeon Celebration Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute. Call Celebration Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute for a shoulder specialist today!


Shoulder Injuries


Generally speaking, the majority of AC injuries don’t need surgery. There are many situations, however, in which surgery may be necessary. Full function of the shoulder is restored for most patients, and the period of disability and discomfort ranges from a few days to 12 weeks depending on how serious the separation is. Disruption of the AC joint ends up causing pain and instability throughout the whole shoulder and arm. The pain peaks when the patient attempts overhead movements or tries to sleep on the affected side. The most mobile joint in the human body is the shoulder, and has a complex arrangement of structures working together in order to provide the movement necessary for daily life. This great mobility unfortunately comes at the expense of stability, as many bones and a network of soft tissue structures work together in order to produce shoulder mobility. In order to keep the joint in place while it shifts through large ranges of motion, all of these structures make an important contribution, notes orthopedic surgeon Celebration Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute. Certain work or sports activities can put great demands upon the shoulder, and injury may happen when the limits of movement are exceeded and/or the individual structures are stressed.


When You Should Go To A Shoulder Specialist


An AC joint separation, usually called a shoulder separation, happens when the clavicle is dislocated from the acromion. Such an injury typically happens from a blow to the shoulder or a fall in which the individual lands on the shoulder or an outstretched arm directly. AC joint separations occur the most commonly in contact sports such as football and hockey. The severity of an AC joint injury depends on which supporting structures have sustained damage. While a torn acromioclavicular ligament alone is not considered serious, when all of the coracoclavicular ligaments are ruptured and the whole  shoulder unit is involved, the dislocation is complicated. Simple AC injuries are classified in three grades which range from a mild dislocation to a complete separation: 

  • Grade I- a slight displacement of the joint
  • Grade II- A partial dislocation of the joint where there may be some displacement
  • Grade III- A complete separation of the joint. All of the ligaments and the capsule surrounding the joint are torn.


Contact Us Today


Celebration Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute is a top orthopedic surgeon in the Celebration area. Call Celebration Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Institute for a shoulder specialist today!