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Acromio-Clavicular Joint (ACJ)

South Wales Shoulder and Elbow Clinic, ACJ

ACJ Injuries


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.

Reconstructed ACJ

Private Practices

Spire Cardiff Hospital

Croescadarn Road



CF23 8XL

Appointments: 02920 731112

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Spire Cowbridge Clinic

The Health Centre



CF71 7DA

Appointments: 02920 731112

View website


Impartial, Independent Expertise for Justice
Tim Matthews, The Elbow Club
Tim Matthews, member of the British Orthopaedic Association
Tim Matthews member of British Elbow and Shoulder Society
Tim Matthews, RCS Advanced Surgical Standards
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