An Overview of an AC Joint Sprain
An AC joint sprain is a fairly common shoulder injury among active individuals. A shoulder sprain in the AC joint is typically caused by a direct blow to the “point” of the shoulder or a fall onto the shoulder joint. An AC joint sprain is characterized by the tearing of the connective tissue and ligaments of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Dr. Peter Millett, serving patients from Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities, specializes in diagnosing and treating shoulder pain associated with a shoulder sprain in the AC joint.
The AC joint is responsible for connecting the shoulder blade to the clavicle. The joint allows for a small range of shoulder movement compared to the shoulder joint. When the AC joint is put under extreme stress during sports or work activity, it has the potential to tear. When a tear occurs, it is known as an AC joint sprain. A shoulder sprain in the AC joint can range from a small sprain, causing minimal shoulder pain, to a severe sprain causing extreme pain, instability and deformity.
What are the Symptoms of an AC Joint Sprain?
Many individuals who sustain an AC joint sprain will experience a sudden onset of shoulder pain located at the top of the shoulder joint. The pain may increase during certain activities such as overhead lifting, pushing and pulling movements and when moving the arm across the body. In a minor AC shoulder sprain, an individual may be able to perform daily activities with limited pain, swelling and stiffness. In more severe cases, a deformity may be visible from the tearing of the connective tissue holding the AC joint together.