Pain and visible bump on top of the shoulder? See an orthopedic doctor...

Acromioclavicular Dislocation (AC) is diagnosed when the collar bone and shoulder blade become separated from each other. It can be caused by a blow or fall that tears or damages the ligaments that hold the two bones closed. Contact sports, falling on the ice, falling on an outstretched arm, or having an impact on the point of the shoulder blade, such as when being launched over the handlebars of a bicycle, are common situations reported to cause AC.

There are six grades of AC dislocation, one being the least severe and six being the most.

Common Symptoms:

  • Pain when moving the arm overhead or sleeping on the injured shoulder
  • Swelling 
  • Bruising
  • Popping sound when joint is moved
  • Visible bump on the top of the shoulder 
  • Weight of the arm pulls shoulder down 

The vast majority of AC injuries can be treated non-surgically. This includes the use of a sling, cold packs, anti-inflammatory medications, and completing a physical therapy program. 

In the less common cases of severe injuries, surgery may be required to either shave the end of the collarbone or reconstruct the ligaments. The goal of surgical and non-surgical treatments is to restore and rebuild range of motion, strength, and flexibility.