The acromioclavicular joint, or “AC” joint, is where the scapula and the collarbone meet on the top of the shoulder, and is a common source of shoulder pain. A common mechanism of this injury is falling onto the ‘point’ of the shoulder, forcibly separating the joint which can cause ligament or joint capsule sprains or tears.
It can be quite a painful injury and can stop you from doing even trivial everyday activities like reaching for a glass in a high cupboard or getting dressed, or make work or sport duties painful.
Here’s where we come in. By understanding the phases of injury recovery we can optimise your recovery. In the initial phase a shoulder sling and/or specific AC taping is fantastic for immobilising the joint in order for it to settle and allow a little healing in the first 2-3 days or up to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the injury-this is called the ‘protection phase’.
When pain permits your physio will get stuck into the next phase: getting the joint moving through its normal range and back to its normal strength. This phase includes exercises targeted towards improving stability and shoulder biomechanics, from gentle stationary muscle contractions through to functional muscle movements in order to get you back functioning optimally.
The third phase targets work and/or sport-specific activities. They include exercises specific for the movements and requirements of your job or sporting activities, as well as upping the strength work through your shoulder stabiliser muscles, to get you back to normal as soon as possible.
If you suspect you have had this injury, or would like advice regarding shoulder strengthening give our lovely physios a call today!