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Acromioclavicular (AC Joint) Instability

What is Acromioclavicular Instability?

The AC joint is on the top of the shoulder where the outside end of the collar bone (clavicle) joins the top of the shoulder blade (acromion). 

AC joint dislocation occurs after sustaining a direct blow to the outside of the shoulder, such as falling to the ground after colliding with a sporting opponent. The shoulder blade is forced under and across the collarbone, tearing the ligaments that normally hold the joint together. 

AC joint dislocations can cause problems if the joint remains unstable. In some cases, the unstable AC joint causes the shoulder blade to move in an abnormal way (scapular dyskinesia) which results in pain felt all around the shoulder. The unstable AC joint can also make it difficult to lift heavy objects, particularly in the overhead position.

Treatment for Acromioclavicular Instability

An AC joint that is unstable and symptomatic may benefit from acromioclavicular stabilisation surgery.