Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury: Mechanism of injury, diagnosis and treatment of this shoulder injury

Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries are common injuries in contact and collision sports. There are many ways that this injury can occur, but they involve a force to the front or outside of the shoulder with the arm beside the body.

Examples of this type of injury include a hockey player being driven into the boards and hitting his shoulder along the boards, a football player getting hit on the outside of the shoulder, or an athlete falling and landing on his shoulder with his arm by his side. I often see people suffer these injuries after falling off a bike and landing on their shoulder.

In this video, I discuss the ways doctors make the diagnosis, including the exam and x-rays. I also explain non-surgical treatments and the process to regain motion and strength and return to sports. I also discuss when surgery might be necessary.

Do you have shoulder pain, or have you suffered a shoulder injury? Watch this free video series on shoulder injuries in sports and exercise!

Also read:
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery: What you need to know
AC joint injuries of the shoulder in NFL players

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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