AC Joint Dislocation

This article is about sudden trauma to the AC joint for AC joint pain and inflammation click here

What is the AC joint?

AC Joint

The shoulder is a very complicated structure consisting of three bones (shoulder blade, collarbone and arm) that all move together. The AC joint is the small joint between the shoulder blade and the collar bone

What is an AC joint separation / dislocation?

Usually an AC joint separation occurs due to heavy impact on the ‘point of the shoulder’. The most common causes are falls from bikes or skiing and heavy side-on impacts with opponents or the ground in contact/collision sports. The injury involves stretching, straining or tearing of the strong ligaments then connect the two bones and often results in a “step deformity” that many people assume to be a collar bone fracture.

AC Joint Seperation

How is the diagnosis of AC joint separation made?

Usually the diagnosis of an AC joint separation is made by an expert clinician without the need for further investigations. Depending on the individual case, your doctor may need an Xray or even an MRI scan to assess the amount of separation or whether there are any other additional injuries such as a fracture

What is the treatment for AC joint separation?

AC joint separation injuries are separated into 6 types. The first 3 types are the most common and indicate the severity of the separation. Types 1 and 2 can be managed very effectively without surgery. There is some debate about the need for surgery in type 3 separations but your doctor can help you to effectively make that decision with all the necessary information. Types 4 to 6 are quite uncommon and require urgent medical attention.

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