AC Joint Treatment in Courtice

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries

An injury to the top of the shoulder, where the front of the shoulder blade (acromion) joins to the collarbone, is known as an acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury (clavicle). A traumatic event, such as a fall directly on the outside of the shoulder, or continuous overuse can both cause it. Males incur 5 times more traumatic AC joint injuries than females. AC joint injuries are most common in people under the age of 35. Traumatic AC joint injuries are more common in younger athletes because they are more prone to participate in high-risk and collision activities including football, motorcycling, snow sports, hockey, and rugby. A physiotherapist can spot AC joint injuries and treat them effectively, frequently without the need for surgery.

What Is Acromicioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries?

The AC joint’s two bones (the acromion and the clavicle) are held together by four ligaments. These ligaments are pressured when an AC joint injury occurs, resulting in some degree of joint separation. Traumatic and overuse injuries are the two forms of injuries that can occur at the AC joint. 

A traumatic AC joint injury occurs when the joint is disrupted by ligaments that hold the two bones of the joint together. A shoulder separation is the medical term for this type of injury (in contrast to a shoulder dislocation, it involves the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder).

Traumatic AC joint injuries are most common in those who fall and land on their outside shoulder or on their hand (for example, a tackled football player, a bicycle, or a manual labourer who falls off a ladder).

Those who fall and land on their outside shoulder or hand are more likely to sustain traumatic AC joint injury (for example, a tackled football player, a bicycle, or a manual labourer who falls off a ladder).

An overuse AC joint injury develops over time as the joint is subjected to repeated, excessive stress. The joint is protected from daily wear and tear by cartilage at the ends of the acromion and clavicle bones. The stress imposed on this cartilage over time may be more than it can withstand, leading in an overuse injury. Arthritis is the result of significant cartilage wear. Heavy weight lifting (bench and military presses) and jobs that involve manual labour with the arms raised over the head are the most common causes of overuse AC joint injury.


With an AC joint injury, you may experience:

  • General shoulder pain and swelling
  • Swelling and tenderness over the AC joint
  • Loss of shoulder strength
  • A visible bump above the shoulder
  • Pain when lying on the involved side
  • Loss of shoulder motion
  • A popping sound or catching sensation with movement of the shoulder
  • Discomfort with daily activities that stress the AC joint, like lifting objects overhead, reaching across your body, or carrying heavy objects at your side


The diagnosis of an AC joint injury begins with a thorough examination of the patient’s medical history, which includes specific inquiries about when the pain started and what aggravates and relieves it.

Your physiotherapist will test many aspects of your shoulder, including feeling, mobility, strength, flexibility, discomfort, and edoema. To check the structures in the shoulder joint, your physiotherapist will perform many tests unique to it. The therapist may also ask you to demonstrate the activities or positions that trigger your pain for a brief period of time. Other adjacent areas, such as your neck and upper back, will be evaluated to see whether they are contributing to your shoulder problem as well.

Treatments of Acromicioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries

Your physiotherapist will work with you to design an individualised strategy geared to your specific shoulder condition and goals once other problems have been ruled out and an injury to the AC joint has been detected. Many physiotherapy therapies have been proven to be useful in the treatment of this illness. Your physiotherapist might concentrate on:

Range of Motion

An injury to the AC joint, whether traumatic or due to overuse, irritates the joint, causing swelling and stiffness, as well as a loss of normal motion. Reaching across your body and lifting your arm directly overhead are two of the most challenging motions to perform following an AC joint injury. While it’s critical to reclaim your normal shoulder motion, it’s equally critical to let your injury heal without putting undue strain on the recovering joint. Your physiotherapist will evaluate your range of motion and the severity of your injury before recommending a treatment plan that balances joint protection and motion restoration.

Strength Training

The surrounding muscles show weakening after an injury. To allow for normal, coordinated upper-body action, all of the muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow, as well as those in the upper back, function together. As a result, ensuring that the shoulder joint is protected and operates efficiently requires balancing the strength of all upper-body muscles. Your physiotherapist will create a specific exercise programme to strengthen the muscles in and around the shoulder, ensuring that each muscle can execute its function appropriately.

Manual therapy

Manual (hands-on) therapy is taught to physiotherapists. If necessary, your physiotherapist will move and mobilise your shoulder joint and surrounding muscles to increase their range of motion, flexibility, and strength. These methods can be used to treat regions that are tough to reach on your own.

Pain Management

To help with pain management, your physiotherapist may offer therapeutic modalities including ice and heat.

Functional Training

The AC joint is a tiny joint that is frequently expected to carry a heavy load. Functional training, which teaches your entire shoulder how to work effectively in different situations, is required to meet this demand. Poor coordination, for example, puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder while lifting overhead. Physiotherapists are skilled at determining the quality of movement. To assist you keep a pain-free shoulder, your physiotherapist will be able to point out and correct your actions.


Rest is the first step in treating shoulder pain. The amount of time you need to rest depends on the severity of your injury. Your physiotherapist will devise a specific rehabilitation plan for you so that you can safely resume your every day and recreational activities.

Can AC Joint Injury or Condition be Prevented?

Many severe AC joint injuries, such as bicycle crashes, falls to the ground, and so on, may be impossible to avoid. Accidents do take place. Fortunately, there is a lot that can be done to avoid the chain of events that leads to AC joint overuse injuries, including:

  • Understanding the dangers of pushing through pain.
  • Work and weight-lifting activities, particularly repetitive overhead lifting, should be monitored.
  • When at all possible, avoid repetitive overhead lifting.
  • To securely accomplish intended tasks, maintain enough general shoulder strength and motion.
  • If your problems persist or worsen despite rest, you should see a physiotherapist.

Book your appointment Today! If you require alternate appointment times, please contact us and we will gladly assist you with your reservation.

What to Expect on Your First Visit:
  • At Physiotouch Courtice, you will register with our friendly front office staff. 
  • A comprehensive assessment by a Physiotherapist or other Health Care Provider will take you through a detailed history of your major physical concern, assessment of your range of motion and strength, as well as a variety of special tests specific to your injury or dysfunction. These assessment findings are analyzed and used to create a clinical impression. This will help us to better identifying and understanding your problem and formulating an effective treatment plan tailored specifically for your needs and to achieve the realistic goals. This treatment plan could involve a number of things including therapeutic exercises, therapeutic modalities, manual mobilizations, massage, patient and family education, activity modification, home exercise programs, supervised exercise programs and many others.
  • There will be some treatments performed the first day to get you started on your path to recovery. However, during the next visits you will get into all aspects of your treatment plan.
  • Our staff will help you scheduling your next visits at Physiotouch Courtice as per treatment plan recommended by related Health Care Provider. We offer many convenient appointment times, however, prime times can become busy, so it is best to book ahead as much as possible.
  • If you have any questions at any time, please do not hesitate to call. We want to ensure your satisfaction and full recovery.
Before Your First Visit
  • You will receive a confirmation email shortly after booking your appointment.
  • This email will contain some forms which you can fill out and sign from your device in handy. 
  • If you have any questions, ask us before signing the form.
  • If you are not able to access the forms online, please arrive 15 minutes early for your first appointment so that we can help you with the paperwork.
  • Make a list of questions that you want to discuss on your first visit.
  • Bring with you if you have any imaging reports (i.e.) X-rays, Ultrasound/MRI (etc.) and doctor’s referral. 
  • Bring with you a copy of your insurance card and a photo ID.