The AC (acromioclavicular) joint is located at the front of the shoulder where the collar bone (clavicle) and the shoulder complex connect. It is the only joint that attaches the upper limb to the rest of the body, all other attachments are connected via muscles! This makes the AC joint a critical area for force transmission from the arm to the rest of the body (I.e., lifting, throwing, carrying tasks).
While there are not any specific muscular attachments to the AC joint, there are several ligaments surrounding and attached to the area that help to support the stability of the joint. These ligaments include the Coracoclavicular and acromioclavicular ligaments. The acromioclavicular ligament is the primary source of restraint at the AC joint.
Arthritis occurs when there is degeneration of the cartilage around the joint. This is most common in middle-aged populations or those where frequent overhead lifting is required such as athletes or construction workers.
Common symptoms of Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis include:
Pain with AC arthritis will more likely be experienced at end available ranges versus pain in the middle of movement.
Your doctor can diagnose you based on symptoms and imaging including x-rays.
AC joint arthritis is typically non-operative and can be managed with a combination of conservative treatments including physical therapy, activity modifications, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) or injections to the AC joint.
If you have pain from Acromioclavicular joint arthritis, It is best to sleep on your back with the involved side propped or sleeping on the uninvolved side with a pillow underneath the involved arm.
In Acromioclavicular joint arthritis (AC Jt) is causing you pain, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute can help.to schedule an appointment with a JOI shoulder specialist, call (904)JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below. To see a JOI Rehab Therapist in 1 of our 12 locations, call (904) 858-7045.