AC Fracture Overview

Injuries to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint are among the most common shoulder injuries in the active population. The AC joint is located where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the highest point of the acromion (shoulder blade). An AC fracture is an injury that occurs when a break or crack becomes present in a bone in the AC joint area. A broken shoulder or fractured AC joint is often the result of a direct hit to the “point” of the shoulder or from a fall directly on the joint. Dr. Peter Millett, orthopedic shoulder specialist, is highly trained and experienced at treating a broken shoulder bone with both non-surgical and surgical options for patients in Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities.

What are the symptoms of an AC fracture?

A broken shoulder bone in the AC joint area will cause a patient to experience shoulder pain, swelling, bruising and limited range of motion. Some patients may also have a visible deformity that is similar to a bump underneath the skin at the top of the shoulder.

How are AC Fractures Diagnosed?

Many cases of a broken shoulder in the AC joint area are diagnosed with an X-ray and a physical examination of the shoulder. If Dr. Millett suspects additional soft-tissue involvement he may request an MRI.

Have you sustained an AC fracture?

There are two ways to initiate a consultation with Dr. Millett:

You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review ($250).

You can schedule an office consultation with Dr. Millett.

What is the treatment for an AC Fracture?

A broken shoulder bone in and around the AC joint is commonly placed in a sling and can be treated with more conservative measures such as rest, ice and activity modifications. Dr. Millett may recommend shoulder surgery if there is a moderate amount of bone displacement. This is done to bring the bones of the shoulder back into proper alignment so they can heal correctly. Surgery is also almost always recommended in patients who have experienced an open AC fracture which occurs when the broken bone has ruptured through the skin.

For additional information on an AC fracture, or to learn more about treatment options for a broken shoulder bone, please contact the practice of Dr. Peter Millett.