Physiotherapy for AC Joint Separation

Commonly referred to as shoulder separation, Acromioclavicular or AC joint separation is a fairly common sports injury that’s caused due when a person falls on his shoulder. In addition to this, the AC joint may suffer an injury when an individual falls with an outstretched arm and suffers damage to the ligaments in the process.

Since shoulder separation is a painful condition, using pain-relieving medicines and ice packs can help relieve the pain and inflammation. However, to restore the mobility and flexibility of the joint, it is important to use physiotherapy and various strengthening exercises that can help with mobility of the joint and damaged ligaments and restore their strength.

In this article, we are reviewing the common symptoms of Acromioclavicular injury and how physiotherapy can help manage the condition.

What is AC Joint Separation?

As mentioned earlier, AC joint separation is caused when a person falls on his shoulder. The condition is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Shoulder pain that worsens on overhead movements

    Smiling Woman Using Hand Weights While Personal Trainer Supervises Her Progress

  • Deformity or bump over the top of the affected shoulder
  • Muscle weakness
  • Limited shoulder mobility
  • Swelling and bruising

From minor muscle sprain to rupturing of the ligaments, the severity of these symptoms varies depending on the nature of injury.

How is AC Joint Separation Treated?

From ice therapy to, joint stabilization, bracing to surgery, there are different treatment techniques available to treat shoulder separation. The selection of the right treatment method depends on the extent of the injury and severity of symptoms. Generally, physiotherapy is the mainstay of all treatment plans right from the emergent phase to recovery and rehabilitation.

In the acute phase, rest, ice, and protection with an arm sling are recommended. Shoulder movement is recommended as soon as it can be tolerated. Weighted Pendulum Stretch is an exercise that is commonly used by North York physiotherapists to restore the mobility and flexibility of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint. This is done to relieve stress of the tendons and to prevent stiffness. However, it’s not recommended when movement results in sharp or tearing pain.

In addition to this, at the recovery stage of your treatment plan, your physiotherapist will suggest you strengthening exercises to improve the strength of the shoulder & postural muscles and will give you advice to prevent further injuries when you gradually return to your daily and sports activities. The level of difficulty of these exercises is increased gradually with improvement in pain. Apart from physical therapy, the management of an AC joint injury may also involve the use of massage therapy and acupuncture to relieve muscle tension, increase blood flow and to restore the flexibility of the affected tendons.

To learn more about how a Toronto physiotherapist can help you get rid of the pain and inflammation associated with shoulder separation, please call us at 416-444-4800 to book an appointment today.

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Virtual appointments are available and encouraged for those who are at a heightened risk of illness.

We remain focused on our quality of care & our continued commitment to helping our patients feel their best. For further assistance, you can contact us at 416-444-4800 during our opening hours. 

The Physiomobility Team