Separated Shoulder - Pursuit Physical Therapy
Select Page

Separated Shoulder

  • No painful injections
  • No unnecessary surgery
  • No expensive medications
Book Your Evaluation

Separated Shoulder

  • No painful injections
  • No unnecessary surgery
  • No expensive medications
Book Your Evaluation
Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury is a term used to describe an injury to the top of the shoulder, where the front of the shoulder blade (acromion) attaches to the collarbone (clavicle). It can be caused by a traumatic event, such as a fall directly on the outside of the shoulder, or by repetitive overuse. AC joint injuries are most common in individuals younger than 35 years of age, with males sustaining 5 times more traumatic AC joint injuries than females. Because younger athletes are most likely to participate in high-risk and collision activities, such as football, biking, snow sports, hockey, and rugby traumatic AC joint injuries occur most often in this population. AC joint injuries can be identified and effectively treated by a physical therapist, often avoiding the need for surgery.

What Are Acromicioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries?

There are 4 ligaments holding the 2 bones of the AC joint (the acromion and the clavicle) together. When an AC joint injury occurs, these ligaments are stressed, resulting in some degree of joint separation. There are 2 types of injuries that can occur at the AC joint:traumatic and overuse injuries. A traumatic AC joint injury occurs when there is a disruption of the joint due to damaged ligaments holding the 2 bones of the joint together. This injury is called a shoulder separation (in contrast to a shoulder dislocation, it involves the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder). Traumatic AC joint injuries are most common in individuals who sustain a fall and land on the outside of the shoulder or onto a hand (eg, a football player who is tackled, a bicyclist who crashes, or a manual laborer who falls off a ladder. Traumatic AC joint injuries are graded from mild to severe based on the amount of separation of the joint. Treatment of mild cases likely will be provided by a physical therapist; more severe cases may require surgery followed by physical therapy. An overuse AC joint injury occurs over time as repeated, excessive stress is placed on the joint. Cartilage at the ends of the acromion and clavicle bones protects the joint from daily wear and tear. Over time, the demand placed on this cartilage may be more than it is capable of enduring, resulting in an overuse injury. Significant wearing of the cartilage is known as arthritis. Overuse AC joint injury is most common in individuals who perform tasks, such as heavy weight lifting (bench and military presses), or jobs that require physical labor with the arms stretched over the head.

How Does an AC joint injury Feel?

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

How Is an AC Joint Injury Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of an AC joint injury starts with a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, including specific questions regarding when the pain began, and what aggravates and relieves the pain. Your physical therapist will examine your shoulder and assess different measures, such as sensation, motion, strength, flexibility, tenderness, and swelling. Your physical therapist will perform several tests specific to the shoulder joint to examine the structures located there. The therapist may also ask you to briefly demonstrate the activities or positions that cause your pain. Other nearby areas, such as your neck and upper back will also be examined to determine whether they, too, might be contributing to your shoulder condition. While an AC joint injury can usually be identified through a shoulder examination, diagnostic imaging, such as ultrasound, x-ray, or MRI is often used to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the injury.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help Treat an AC Joint Injury?

Once other conditions have been ruled out and an injury to the AC joint is diagnosed, your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized plan tailored to your specific shoulder condition and your goals. There are many physical therapy treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating this condition. Your physical therapist may focus on: Range of Motion. An injury to the AC joint, whether traumatic or overuse, causes the joint to be irritated, often resulting in swelling and stiffness, causing loss of normal motion. Motions that are usually most difficult after an AC joint injury are reaching across your body and lifting your arm directly overhead. While it is important to regain your normal shoulder motion, it is also important to allow your injury to heal without placing excessive stress on the healing joint. Your physical therapist will assess your motion and the degree of your injury, and establish a plan that will balance joint protection and motion restoration. Strength Training. After an injury, the surrounding muscles demonstrate weakness. All of the muscles near the shoulder and elbow as well as those of the upper back, work together to allow for normal, coordinated upper-body motion. Therefore, balancing the strength of all the upper-body muscles is crucial to making sure the shoulder joint is protected and moves efficiently. Your physical therapist will design an individualized exercise program to strengthen the muscles at and around the shoulder, so that each muscle is able to properly perform its job. Manual Therapy.Physical therapists are trained in manual (hands-on) therapy. If needed, your physical therapist will gently move and mobilize your shoulder joint and surrounding muscles as needed to improve their motion, flexibility, and strength. These techniques can target areas that are difficult to treat on your own. Pain Management.Your physical therapist may recommend therapeutic modalities, such as ice and heat to aid in pain management. Functional Training. The AC joint is a relatively small joint that is often asked to bear a significant load. In order to successfully meet this demand, there is a need for functional training, teaching your entire shoulder to work best in different positions. For example, when lifting overhead, poor coordination places undue stress on the shoulder. Physical therapists are experts in assessing movement quality. Your physical therapist will be able to point out and correct your movements to help you maintain a pain-free shoulder. Education. The first step to addressing your shoulder pain is rest. The amount of rest required varies, and largely depends on the degree of your injury. Your physical therapist will create a personalized plan for your rehabilitation, so you can safely return to your desired daily and recreational activities.

Can an AC Joint Injury be Prevented?

It may be difficult to prevent many traumatic AC joint injuries, such as bicycle crashes, falls to the ground, etc. Accidents do happen. Fortunately, however, much can be done to prevent the cascade of events that lead to overuse injuries to the AC joint, including:
  • Learning about the risks of pushing through pain.
  • Monitoring work and weight-lifting activities, particularly repetitive overhead lifting.
  • Avoiding repetitive overhead lifting when possible.
  • Maintaining adequate general shoulder strength and motion to safely perform desired tasks.
  • Consulting with a physical therapist if symptoms are persistent or worsening despite rest.
References: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=52200cb4-be11-41e5-b54e-5d6c9d83ef86#.VYrnSflViko

To Get A "Insider's Look" At Our Treatment Approach And How We Get Results...

Click Below To Watch Our Exclusive Webinar! It's Simple, Short, and It's Free!

Yes! I Want Access To The Free Webinar

To Get A Insider's Look
  • Learn The Essential First Step... So You Can Get Pain Free Again
  • See Why Treatment Needs To Be Individualized, Not Standardized...So You Get Faster Results!
  • Learn How You Can Save Money...So You Don't Have To Waste $1000's On Unnecessary Treatments

Solve the root cause of your pain

How Our Treatment is Different

We believe that working with a specific specialist for your care is the best way to solve the root cause of your pain. Work one-on-one with a Doctor of Physical Therapy every time your visit our office.

Book your evaluation

Exclusive one-on-one patient care

While most clinics will give you a limited amount of time with your Doctor, we believe that true results come from consistent one-on-one therapy.

Work with your specialist every visit

Stop being handed off to trainees or non-Doctors for your Physical Therapy. At Pursuit, you'll work exclusively with your Doctor of Physical Therapy that specializes in your specific needs.

24/7 messaging access to your specialist

Ever have an issue or questions? We're here to help. Get 24/7 access to your specialist while you're under our care. Physical Therapy doesn't just happen when you're in our clinic, so we're here for you when you need us.

No waiting periods

Get off that waiting list and get the treatment you need. We're always ready to accept new patients, so you can get better faster and get back to a pain-free life that you deserve.

Not limited by insurance

Don't let the insurance companies tell you how much treatment you need. Avoid the limitations of short sessions that insurance provides and work with our Doctors when you need it and for as long as you need it.

No painful injections, no expensive medications, no surgery

In order to truly solve your pain, we use a holistic approach to Physical Therapy, not relying on injections, medications, or surgery. Instead, we'll strengthen your body's weak points that are causing your pain.

MEET THE TEAM

Ron Miller

RON MILLER, DPT, OCS, Cert DN


Doctor of Physical Therapy | Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist | Post-Doctoral Orthopaedic Residency Trained | Certified in Dry Needling | Titleist Performance Institute Certified

Dr. Ron Miller is the owner and founder of Pursuit Physical Therapy. His core belief is that it is not about the physician, the physical therapist, or the insurance company: it is about what is truly best for the patient. Dr. Miller started...

Carey Rothschild

CAREY ROTHSCHILD, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS, CKTP


Doctor of Physical Therapy and Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida | Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist
| Board Certified Sport Clinical Specialist

Dr. Carey Rothschild is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida.  Dr. Rothschild earned a Bachelor of Health Science in Physical Therapy in 1999 from the University of Florida and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2005...

Carey Rothschild
Michael Fabrick

MICHAEL FABRICK, DPT, Cert. DN


Doctor of Physical Therapy | Certified in Dry Needling | Pursuit Sports Performance Specialist | Professional Tennis Tour Physical Therapist

Dr. Michael Fabrick was born and raised in Hanover, Pennsylvania and attended Slippery Rock University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He then went on to receive his Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in May of 2020. During his final tenure as a Doctoral intern, he trained underneath Todd Ellenbecker, who is one of the world’s leading experts on shoulder rehabilitation and is the Vice President of Medical Services for the ATP World Tour...

MARYANN DANIELS, PT, MCMT, IDN


Physical Therapist | Dry Needling Certified | Mastery Certified In Manual Therapy | Pelvic Floor And Post Partum Specialist

Maryann was originally born in Connecticut but moved to Florida with her family at the age of 9 and she grew up in Jupiter, Florida. She then went to college at the University of Central Florida...

To Get A "Insider's Look" At Our Treatment Approach And How We Get Results...

Click Below To Watch Our Exclusive Webinar!  It's Simple, Short, And It's Free!

Yes! I Want Access To The Free Webinar

To Get A Insider's Look
  • Learn The Essential First Step...So You Can Get Pain Free Again
  • See Why Treatment Needs To Be Individualized, Not Standardized...So You Get Faster Results
  • Learn How You Can Save Money...So You Don't Have To Waste $1000's On Unnecessary Treatments

BECOMING PAINFREE  IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK

step1

Step 1:

Call our expert team.

step 2

Step 2:

We’ll work with you to find and treat the root of your pain.

step 3

Step 3:

Get back to doing what you love.

Call us to schedule your appointment

(407) 494-8835
(407) 494-8835

Ask one of our Board Certified Specialists a question about your pain. Just fill out the form below.

    Name
    Email
    Phone
    How can we help?
    -

    SEND MESSAGE