The Acromioclavicular joint or the AC joint is at the top of the shoulder between the shoulder blade and the collarbone. It is what lets a person reach overhead, and allow movements across the body. When injured, it is usually because of over-stretching. The ligament most often happening during sporting activities like netball, basketball or volleyball but also seen from other actions, activities and exercises too. A physio West Leederville will see all degrees of injury from mild strains to full ligament tears. Let’s look more at the causes of AC joint sprain, what the symptoms are and physio treatment.

AC joint sprain causes and symptoms

Any kind of direct injury, trauma or impact can lead to an AC joint sprain. You might collide with a wall or the floor in a fall if you trip or fall off your bike. You might collide with people in a sporting event for example in a scrum, tackle or something might hit you when it falls. The force this impact causes pushes the clavicle and acromion apart, overstretching the ligaments which are then damaged. Symptoms a patient seeing a physio Leederville might experience include:

  • Bruising and possible inflammation
  • Pain located at the top of the shoulder that is worse when you lift your arms overhead, do any heavy lifting or try across the body motion
  • Unable to use that shoulder
  • A lump that is hard may form and be visible at the top of the shoulder

There are three grades of severity according to a physio, grade 1 being the least serious where there is minimal damage, then grade 2 is worse and finally, grade 3 is severe damage. In some cases, grade 3 damage requires surgery for treatment before recovery can be started. When it comes to recovery and returning to full activity grade 1 takes a few days to a couple of weeks, grade 2 takes 2 to 4 weeks and grade 3 takes 4 to 8 weeks.

Physio treatment of AC joint sprain

For most patients, the injury will feel better to some degree in just a few days or a week but full healing of the ligament takes longer. The intention of the treatment from a physio West Leederville is to reduce the swelling and pain you are experiencing. To also improve and return to normal the range of motion you have in the shoulder joint, build strength back up in the shoulder, improve muscle lengths, return the ability to lift and do overhead activities and lower the chance of re-injury.

When you head to your physio Leederville, you can expect them to;

  • Assess your injury and muscular weakness
  • Diagnose after an initial assessment
  • Address the cause of the injury
  • Perform treatments such as dry needling, manual manipulation and other specific techniques
  • Create a plan for you to do at home
  • Create modifications in a training plan so you do not return to any sporting activity too soon
  • Assess your technique to see if changes can be made so that injury does not happen again if the injury was from a sporting incident
  • Ensure you are fully rehabilitated with improved or return to normal strength, movement and flexibility
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This Article Penned by Lora Davis