A shoulder separation affects the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint), where the collarbone connects with the wingbone above the shoulder. When the normal alignment of this joint is changed, from trauma or most commonly from falling directly on the shoulder, the ligaments become damaged and can no longer fully stabilize the AC joint.
- Pain, swelling and bruising in shoulder
- Shoulder may look noticeably out of position
- A bulge or bump on the top of the shoulder
The doctor may recommend icing and resting the shoulder following the injury to reduce pain and swelling in the area.
Anti-Inflammatory medications may reduce pain and inflammation associated with this injury.
A sling or other advanced support for the shoulder can reduce motion, allowing the shoulder to rest and begin the healing process.
Surgery is generally recommended for more severe and painful cases of shoulder separation. While there are several different procedures available, each is used to bring stability to the joint or reconstruct the affected ligaments.
Certified Physical Therapists work closely with doctors to create an individualized program to maximize healing and restore function, strength and mobility.