Injuries to the AC joint are common and may be degenerative or traumatic. Most commonly as we age, bone spurs develop in the AC joint as a result of arthritis, and when it is symptomatic may produce a very typical pain for patients that is easy to diagnose via physical examination. Treatment may range from NSAID use to most commonly a cortisone injection.
In the rare patients that do not respond to cortisone injections, it is very simple to arthroscopically resect the AC joint. Additionally, trauma to this area (typically a fall directly onto the shoulder) most commonly results in disruption some of the ligaments. In serious cases, many ligaments are torn: (as pictured to the left) which may also be reconstructed arthroscopically. Most frequently, the injuries are not that severe and a period of rest and NSAID use will resolve the symptoms.