Your acromioclavicular (AC) joint is essential to the shoulder’s free movement and function. If yours has been injured or impaired by a degenerative condition, seek treatment immediately. IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, which has locations in New Jersey and New York, is home to a talented orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Arun Rajaram, MD, FAAOS. He serves the tri-state area with a range of AC joint treatments – from physical therapy to minimally invasive surgery – to ensure a full recovery.
About AC Joint Conditions
The AC joint is the meeting point between three different bones: the humerus, scapula, and clavicle. These three bones and the ligaments surrounding them are responsible for your shoulder’s free movement, meaning AC conditions can severely impair your mobility. At IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, we treat the following and more:
Acromioclavicular Joint Separation
When the ligaments binding the AC joint together are injured, the acromion may separate or dislocate from the clavicle. This condition is often caused by overuse, especially through repetitive overhead lifting, which wears down the tissue over time. Joint separation may also be the result of acute trauma, such as a fall or injury from a motor vehicle accident.
Acromioclavicular Joint Osteoarthritis
Cartilage cushions the AC joint, absorbing shock and preventing bones from rubbing. As it wears down over time, the bones begin to grind against one another and form spurs. Osteoarthritis – also called degenerative AC joint disease or osteolysis – happens naturally with age. It can also be exacerbated by overuse and excessive weightlifting.
When to Seek Treatment
Though AC conditions have a range of causes and may manifest in different ways, they share a common set of symptoms, making them easy to identify. These include:
- Shoulder pain radiating to the neck
- Inflammation or swelling around the joint
- Clicking or snapping sounds while moving
- Difficulties with rotating the shoulder
- Visible bumps over the joint
Patients should contact IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics as soon as they experience symptoms. With prompt treatment, they can avoid progressive pain and complications down the road.
Our Treatment Options
Most AC joint pain can be treated through physical therapy, which strengthens the joint and restores free movement. Meanwhile, over-the-counter medication like aspirin or ibuprofen reduces pain and inflammation. More severe pain may be treated with corticosteroid injections. If these methods fail, IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics uses surgical techniques to repair injured joints, including:
Treating Joint Separation
Surgeons gently cut away the damaged sections of the ligament to prevent further fraying and then reattach fibers to the bone. Severely damaged ligaments may be reinforced or replaced with tissue from elsewhere in the body or with an artificial substitute.
Osteoarthritis is treated through distal clavicle resection. Here, a small section of bone is carefully removed from the clavicle. This allows just enough space for the joint to move without the bones directly touching one another.
Learn More about AC Joint Repair in New Jersey and New York
If you or a loved one is struggling with pain in an acromioclavicular (AC) joint, contact IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics. Our team of experts serves New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with a full continuum of care for patients with brain, spine, neurological, and orthopedic conditions. Schedule an appointment today or request more information now.