What is AC or Acromioclavicular Arthritis?
The acromioclavicular joint is part of the shoulder joint. It is formed by the union of the acromion, a bony process of the shoulder blade, and the outer end of the collar bone or clavicle. The joint is lined by cartilage that gradually wears with age as well as with repeated overhead or shoulder level activities such as basketball. The condition is referred to as AC arthritis or acromioclavicular arthritis.
What Causes AC Arthritis?
AC arthritis is caused by the wearing out of the cartilage covering the bone ends in a joint. This may be due to excessive strain over prolonged periods of time, or due to other joint diseases, injury or deformity. AC arthritis may also be the consequence of another disease or condition, such as shoulder separation.
What are the Symptoms of AC Arthritis?
Symptoms generally include pain or tenderness in the joint that occurs at the top and front of the shoulder where the clavicle and scapula meet, pain with certain motions, swelling, and stiffness due to a limitation of motion of a joint or inactivity.
How is AC Arthritis Diagnosed?
When you present with the above symptoms, your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination. An injection into the joint can temporarily reduce pain while identifying the AC joint as the source of pain. Other tests your doctor may order include X-rays, MRI scans which may reveal cartilage destruction and abnormal fluid accumulation within the joint, and bone scan or ultrasound of the joint.
How is AC Arthritis Treated?
Your doctor will treat your symptoms non-operatively by instructing you to limit or modify your activities and controlling your pain. Pain is controlled by pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections into the joint, and physical therapy. If symptoms persist, surgery may be recommended. Surgery may be performed by a minimally invasive technique using arthroscopy or a traditional open method. It usually involves removal of less than one centimeter of bone from the end of the collarbone (distal clavicle resection) to prevent the bones in the joint from rubbing against each other.
- Shoulder Instability
- Anterior Shoulder Instability
- Posterior Shoulder Instability
- Arthritis of the Shoulder
- Sternoclavicular Arthritis
- Acromioclavicular (AC) Arthritis
- Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Osteoarthritis
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Rotator Cuff Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Shoulder Labral Tear
- SLAP Tears
- Shoulder Labral Tear with Instability
- Shoulder Fracture
- Fracture of the Shoulder Blade (Scapula)
- Clavicle Fracture
- Glenoid Fractures
- Proximal Humerus Fractures
- Periprosthetic Shoulder Fracture
- Shoulder Ligament Injuries
- Baseball & Shoulder Injuries
- Throwing Injuries of the Shoulder
- Sternoclavicular Joint Injury
- Sternoclavicular (SC) Joint Injuries
- Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries
- Shoulder Impingement
- Subacromial Impingement Syndrome
- Internal Impingement of the Shoulder
- Snapping Scapula
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Trauma
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Rotator Cuff Bursitis
- Proximal Biceps Tendinitis
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Bicep Tendon Rupture
- Little League Shoulder
- Shoulder Tendonitis
- Shoulder Disorders
- Acromioclavicular Joint Sprains
- Overhead Athlete's Shoulder
- Post-traumatic Stiffness of the Shoulder
- Sternoclavicular Joint (SC joint)
- Rotator Cuff Re-tear
- Partial Rotator Cuff Tear
- Sternoclavicular Separation
- AC Joint Separation
- Proximal Biceps Tenodesis
- Proximal Biceps Tendon Rupture
- Long Head Biceps Tendon Rupture
- Multidirectional Instability of the Shoulder
- AC Joint Dislocation/Acromioclavicular Joint Dislocation
- Calcification Tendinitis