How is an AC Joint Injury Diagnosed?
When an AC separation is suspected, the orthopedic specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho will perform a thorough physical exam of the shoulder, checking for weakness and areas of discomfort. An obvious physical deformity may help determine the grade of separation and often an x-ray is requested to assess the severity of the diagnosis and can help develop the best treatment plan.
How is a Separated Shoulder treated?
The lower grade AC joint injuries are commonly treated with a non-surgical approach. Immobilizing the joint by using a sling or other type of brace, ice, rest and medication, can help minimize pain and aid in healing. Non-surgical treatment is recommended for low grade injuries and patients are often able to return to their normal activities in 1-6 weeks. Pain, however, can persist for many months after an AC joint injury – even with the lower grade AC joint separations where the ligaments are only stretched and not completely torn.
Surgical Treatment Alternatives:
Higher grade shoulder separations may require surgery. The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho offers patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley a minimally invasive procedure called AC joint reconstruction. During this procedure, the experienced orthopedic shoulder specialist will use special surgical instruments to operate around the AC joint reconstructing and repairing the torn ligaments and capsule. The AC joint is not only stabilized by repairing and tightening the damaged ligaments, but in certain occasions, the surgery may require a ligament graft to restore stability. Afterward, a specialized physical therapy program is required to regain strength and full motion of the AC joint.
If you have questions regarding AC Joint Injuries, shoulder separations or other shoulder conditions, please contact The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.