AC joint separation may be an unfamiliar term to most people outside the medical field. Also called a separated shoulder, it is a common injury that happens when the bone in your shoulder connected to your neck (called the collarbone) gets separated from the bone in your shoulder blade. An AC joint separation or separated shoulder is usually caused by falling on your shoulder or getting hit there. People who play contact sports like football or hockey are at a higher risk of sustaining this injury.

Diagnosing an AC joint separation is an important process where Steven Struhl, MD, and his team at AC Joint Separation in New York identify this injury and determine the best treatment. If you have fallen on or been struck on the shoulder and suffer pain, swelling and limited mobility, you could have an AC joint separation.

Exam and Imaging

Dr. Struhl will take several steps to properly diagnose an AC joint separation. First, he will perform a physical examination of your shoulder. This will typically involve assessing the range of motion of the shoulder joint and checking for areas of tenderness or swelling. He may also order X-rays of your shoulder to look for any signs of bone damage or displacement.

If the physical examination and X-rays suggest an AC joint separation, he may also order additional imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. These tests can provide a more detailed view of the ligament damage and any other underlying issues that may be contributing to your injury.

Scaling and Treating Your Injury

Once a diagnosis of AC joint separation has been confirmed, the next step is to determine the severity of the injury. AC joint separations are typically graded on a scale of 1 to 6, with grade 1 being a mild injury and grade 6 being the most severe. The severity of the injury will help to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

For mild AC joint separations, Dr. Struhl may recommend rest, ice, and physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and improve the range of motion. He may also recommend over-the-counter pain medications to help manage pain and swelling.

For more severe AC joint separations, surgery may be required to repair the damaged ligaments and stabilize the joint. Dr. Struhl may use screws, plates or other hardware to hold the collarbone in place while it heals.

Get an Accurate Diagnosis in New York

In some cases, AC joint separations may be misdiagnosed or overlooked altogether. This can lead to ongoing pain and limited mobility, as well as an increased risk of future injuries. It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect you may have an AC joint separation or any other shoulder injury.

Correct diagnosis of an AC joint separation is critical for obtaining the necessary treatment to relieve pain and restore full mobility. Steven Struhl MD – AC Joint Separation in NYC is a premier medical facility with the specialists you need to get a sound diagnosis and effective treatment to help you heal. Contact us today to schedule an exam and consultation.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD