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Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injury

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Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injury
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Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injury Treatment in Dubai at Emirates Hospitals Group. The shoulder joint, with its intricate network of bones, ligaments, and muscles, relies on stability for optimal function. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the acromion (bony projection of the shoulder blade), plays a crucial role in this stability. Emirates Hospitals Group in Dubai is distinguished for its excellence in orthopedic care, featuring some of the best board-certified orthopedic surgeons in Dubai. Our specialized Acromioclavicular (AC Joint) Injury Treatment Clinic offers advanced diagnostic techniques and comprehensive treatment options tailored to each patient’s needs.

Understanding AC Joint Injuries

The AC joint is stabilized by ligaments. An AC joint injury can involve:

  • Sprains: Stretching or tearing of the ligaments surrounding the AC joint, often caused by a fall or direct blow to the shoulder.
  • Separations: Complete or partial tearing of the ligaments, causing separation between the collarbone and the acromion. This can occur due to a more significant force.

AC Shoulder Joint Surgery

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the top of the shoulder where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the acromion (part of the shoulder blade). AC joint injuries, often resulting from falls, sports injuries, or direct trauma, range from mild sprains to complete joint dislocations. Treatment varies based on the severity of the injury and aims to restore stability and function to the shoulder.

Symptoms Indicating the Need for Treatment

Patients with AC joint injuries may experience the following symptoms:

  1. Pain and Tenderness: Localized pain over the AC joint, exacerbated by shoulder movement or pressure on the joint.
  2. Swelling and Bruising: Visible swelling and bruising around the shoulder joint, indicating tissue damage.
  3. Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty moving the shoulder, especially when lifting or rotating the arm.
  4. Joint Instability: Feeling of shoulder weakness or instability, particularly during overhead activities or when bearing weight on the affected arm.
  5. Visible Deformity: In severe cases, a noticeable bump or prominence at the top of the shoulder due to joint dislocation.

Diagnosis of AC Joint Injury

Comprehensive Evaluation

  1. Medical History: Detailed review of the injury mechanism, previous shoulder problems, and symptoms.
  2. Physical Examination: Assessment of shoulder alignment, range of motion, stability testing, and specific tests to evaluate AC joint integrity.
  3. Imaging Studies: X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may be used to confirm the diagnosis, assess the severity of the injury, and guide treatment planning.

AC Shoulder Joint Pain

 Treatment Options for AC Joint Injuries

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

  1. Rest and Immobilization:
    • Procedure: Mild to moderate AC joint injuries may be managed with rest, ice therapy, and immobilization using a sling or brace to allow healing.
    • Benefits: Non-surgical approaches help reduce pain, inflammation, and allow natural healing of the injured joint.
  2. Medications:
    • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort and swelling.
  3. Physical Therapy:
    • Rehabilitation: Once pain and swelling subside, physical therapy focuses on restoring range of motion, strengthening shoulder muscles, and improving joint stability.

Surgical Treatment: AC Joint Reconstruction

For severe AC joint injuries or those that do not respond to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be recommended:

    • AC Joint Reconstruction: Involves repairing or reconstructing the damaged ligaments using techniques such as arthroscopy or open surgery. Surgical options may include using sutures, screws, or synthetic grafts to stabilize the joint and restore normal alignment.

AC Shoulder Joint Pain Treatment

Recovery Process and Protocols

Post-Treatment Rehabilitation

  1. Initial Recovery: Focuses on pain management, gentle shoulder mobilization exercises, and gradual reintroduction of activities.
  2. Progressive Rehabilitation: Advances to strengthening exercises for shoulder muscles, proprioception training, and functional activities to restore full range of motion and joint stability.
  3. Return to Activities: Patients are guided through a phased return to sports or work activities, with ongoing monitoring to prevent recurrent injuries and optimize long-term shoulder health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many AC joint injuries, especially mild to moderate ones, can heal with non-surgical treatments such as rest, immobilization, and physical therapy. These approaches allow the joint to stabilize and heal naturally over time.

Surgery may be recommended for AC joint injuries that are severe, involve significant joint displacement, or fail to respond to conservative treatments. Persistent pain, instability, or visible deformity despite conservative measures may indicate the need for surgical intervention.

Recovery time varies depending on the extent of the injury and the type of surgery performed. Generally, patients can expect several weeks of initial recovery followed by a structured rehabilitation program. Full recovery to pre-injury activities may take several months.

Rehabilitation typically includes exercises to improve shoulder strength, range of motion, and joint stability. Physical therapy focuses on gradually returning to functional activities and sports-specific movements while preventing re-injury.

Last update date: 27-06-2024

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