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Acromioclavicular (AC Joint ) Arthritis

What is Acromioclavicular Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects cartilage which covers the ends of the bones. The cartilage surfaces become damaged and irregular, so the bones of the joint no longer glide smoothly over each other.  This causes pain and loss of movement. AC joint Arthritis is very common, however, only a small number of people with AC arthritis will have problems.

Symptoms of AC Joint Arthritis

AC joint arthritis can lead to sharp pain that is felt on the top of the shoulder. It is often a dull ‘toothache’ type of pain, which may be present even when not using the arm. Attempts to lift the affected arm or use it overhead can cause sharp pain in the top of the shoulder. Certain weights exercises, such as pressing and shoulder elevations, can be extremely painful.

Treatment for AC Joint Arthritis

Symptomatic AC arthritis can be managed with a steroid injection to reduce the inflammation in the joint, followed by a course of physiotherapy to learn how to move the shoulder without overloading the AC joint. 

If the AC arthritis symptoms persist that person may be a candidate for considering distal clavicle excision surgery.