Acromio-Clavicular Joint (ACJ)
The ACJ, otherwise known as the acromio-clavicular joint, is a small joint connecting the clavicle (collar bone) to the scapula (shoulder blade).
Injuries are relatively common and usually occur with a fall directly onto the tip of the shoulder.
The degree of injury is determined by the extent of damage to the ligaments of the joint, and if severe can destabilize the joint.
Pain is usually located around the AC joint itself for all of these injuries and can often be worse when lifting the arm towards the head. The end of the clavicle can sometimes appear as a bump under the skin indicating more severe ligament damage.
Unstable ACJ Injury
The less severe injuries are usually successfully treated with initial rest in a sling, followed by early rehabilitation when the painful symptoms settle.
More severe injuries may require surgery to stabilize the joint; if this is required Mr Matthews will reconstruct the ligaments using an artificial ligament.
This is usually a day procedure and then requires a period of time in a sling before rehabilitation can begin. Non contact sports can usually commence three months after surgery, but returning to contact sports often takes a further three months.