Now that the weather is improving and people are starting to congregate again, you can expect to see more people out playing sports. With an increase of sports activities also comes an increase in the likelihood of sports injuries. This is especially true for novices and those who have gotten out of shape. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to minimize your chances of sustaining an injury.

Causes of AC Joint Separation

Usually, the cause of AC joint separation is a fall that injures the ligaments that surround and stabilize the joint. If you fall directly on the shoulder, you could tear the ligaments that attach to the underside of the clavicle. This injury is common among football players and cyclists who fall over the handlebars.

Falling onto an outstretched hand can also cause an AC joint separation. Also, if there is a severe, direct blow to the shoulder, the joint may separate. Automobile accidents are potential causes as well.

Minimizing Complications

Accidents happen and preventing AC joint separation is difficult. Falls, bicycle crashes and other causes for the injury are not necessarily preventable in all cases. What you can do is prevent the condition from getting worse. Some things to help:

  • Avoid repetitive motions such as overhead lifting when you can.
  • Exercise to build up adequate shoulder strength.
  • Learn about the disadvantages of pushing through the pain.
  • Monitor those activities that require repetitive overhead lifting, especially with weight.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience persistent or increasing pain.

Allow Time for Healing

An injured AC joint needs time to heal. Everyone heals differently. Your injury may be better within a few weeks or it could take longer. Follow the instructions and recommendations of your doctor to ensure the best results for healing. Exercising as recommended will help you make a full recovery. Keep in mind that even after initial recovery, you may need to continue to protect your joint from injury in order to allow the ligaments time to completely heal.

Dr. Steve Struhl has expertise and extensive experience in treating AC joint injuries. When you have a shoulder injury or experience shoulder pain, contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Struhl.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD