Acromioclavicular Joint/Shoulder Separation

What is shoulder separation?

Shoulder separation occurs when the acromioclavicular joint is impacted, causing the collarbone and scapula to separate. The most common cause of this particular injury is being hit by something when the arm is overhead and the hand is outstretched. There are four different kind of soft tissue injuries that can lead to acromioclavicular separation:

  • If the trapezoid and conoid ligaments are torn
  • If the trapezoid and conoid ligaments are forcibly separated from the coracoid
  • If the ligaments in the acromioclavicular region are torn
  • If the lateral clavicle shift upward after being torn from the periosteum.

What are symptoms of shoulder separation?

Signs of shoulder separation include bruising and swelling in the area, combined with weakness in the arm, a raised bump over the joint, a lack of mobility and a limited range of motion. If you try to break a fall using your arm, hit hard in the shoulder, or land on your shoulder when you fall, you are at higher risk of shoulder separation and are more likely to experience these symptoms.

How do we treat shoulder separation?

With this type of injury, good posture is a huge component in the recovery process. We work on straightening your back, stretching out the sore muscles, and strengthening the muscles surrounding arm to compensate for any of the weakness experienced from the injury.