What is the function of the acromioclavicular joint?

This joint makes up the top of the shoulder joint. It is the junction of your collarbone and your shoulder blade. It must be strong and un-separated to allow proper movement of your arm.

How does this joint get injured?

The acromioclavicular joint is an easy joint to sprain and a difficult joint to adequately heal because of poor blood supply and easy re-injury. Common causes of injury include falling on your arm, picking up an object that is too heavy for you, carrying a heavy weight for an extended period of time, repetitive over-use of the arm, and lying on one shoulder for too long a period of time.

What are the symptoms of an injury to this joint?

The most common symptom is over contraction of the muscles on the top of the shoulder and on the side of the neck. The next most common symptom is difficulty with motions of the arm. These symptoms can include a reduced range of motion, pain or ache on motion or simply snapping in the joint with movement.

What happens if it isn’t treated?

This is usually one of the first areas that are injured in a shoulder problem. Left uncorrected, it can progress to a rotator cuff injury, tendonitis, bursitis and finally to frozen shoulder syndrome.

How is this injury treated?

Treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation in the joint, restoring proper range of motion in the shoulder, neck, and upper back, and strengthening the muscles around the joint. Sever injuries may require bracing and possibly surgery.