Contrary to common perception, a shoulder separation does not affect the
shoulder joint, but instead affects the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint),
which is located at the intersection of the collarbone and the shoulder
blade. Such a separation is commonly caused by a fall, which damages the
ligament that protects the AC joint, hence resulting in a separation between
the collarbone and the wingbone. In severe cases, the ligament might be
completely torn, causing the wingbone to descend with the weight of the arm.
The symptoms of shoulder separation involve:
- Bruising or swelling in the shoulder
- Restricted shoulder movement
- An unexplained bump at the top of the shoulder
- Shoulder pain that intensifies with movement
- Weakness in the affected arm
If you experience shoulder pain that you suspect might be associated with
separation, you can visit
OrthoTexas, Plano for diagnosis. This usually involves an X-ray examination to identify
the location of injury. Holding a weight in your hand can help to make
the deformity more prominent, aiding in the diagnosis. The first step
in the treatment of shoulder separation is pain management, which can
be done by administering medications, or adopting conservative treatment
techniques like rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
In most cases, the aforementioned non-surgical treatment options are sufficient
to restore normal functioning in the affected joint. Even though the deformity
might still persist, the pain is likely to be alleviated. Reasons for
persistent pain might be the development of arthritis, friction between
the bone ends during motion, and injury to the cushioning cartilage between
the joint ends. Cases of shoulder separation which are accompanied with
persistent pain or severe deformity might need surgical treatment.
joint doctor at OrthoTexas, Plano, can help you in deciding whether it would be advisable
for you to wait and see if normalcy is restored in the joint, or if you
should opt for immediate surgery. The most common surgery for shoulder
separation involves trimming the end of the collarbone back to its original
position, to prevent friction between this bone and the acromion. In patients
with severe deformity, surgery can be performed to reconstruct the torn
ligaments that join the collarbone to the wingbone.
By opting to get your shoulder separation treated at OrthoTexas, you can
benefit from a holistic treatment plan that will extend well beyond your
surgery. Our physical therapists and occupational therapists shall help
you to restore motion in your shoulder, and rebuild strength and flexibility.