T Nation

AC Joint Issues


#1

ANybody else deal with constant pain in your AC joint (joint near your shoulder at the end of your clavicle) and if you do what do you do about it? I'm 20 and have been dealing with what i was told is arthritis sense i was 16. It's so swollen it actually stick ups a little bit. Sprained it twice and it's starting to affect my bench. I'm debating a cortizone shot because i don't want to start damaging the hell outta my tissue at 20 y/o so if there is anything else you guys do that would be great.


#2

I have had this issue from taking a particularly nasty judo fall. Avoid what hurts is usually the best thing. Obviously you should rehab often and anytime that you are going to put your shoulder through stress (even arm workouts) warm up properly. Mobility throughout the rest of the shoulder girdle as well as addressing any weakness that may be a result from the changed structure of your shoulder or neurological inhibition is going to be a serious issue.

Just to tell you. I wasn't able to bench at all and had a type II AC sprain. I still can't do dips and I can finally do Full ROM Bench ( I bench close with the tips of my thumbs touch the nurling) Resist the temptation to jump ahead. It should feel EASY. Keep the loads light and progress slowly. In Fact: I suggest writing down your protocol with slow loading. Don't be afraid to take a step back. A step back from a cliff is a hell of a lot better than taking a step to a big fall. If not surgery may be the answer.

Strength exercises recommended
Black Burns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIPthBp_DKM

Static Handstand Holds => HS Pushups (limited ROM) => 1 arm military => Standard Military

KB or DB "Arm Bars"1 => arm DB Floor Press (if no pain) => Wide grip Floor press => Wide G BP (focus on arch)

Videos:

Warm Up

Rehab
http://www.dieselcrew.com/how-to-shoulder-rehab

Mobility (Intu-Flow)


#3

Good post by King Kull. I had this problem from October 2009 until August 2010. ART did help by releasing the muscles around the area. However, I simply had to learn to avoid a lot movements that triggered pain. Time and patience finally saw it off.

Also, the rehab stuff advocated is good but same principle applies - if it hurts the area don't do it. Don't misjudge load for this work either. I made this mistake and was using DBs when I would have probably done better unloaded. I hurt my same shoulder recently (RC/upper bicep) and the physio correctly pointed this flaw out to me. Once I went lighter on the rehab concentrating on scapulae contraction, etc, the difference was huge. Good luck.


#4

Thanks for the advice and videos, i'm a college athlete so it's impossible not to bench, seeing as how it's considered one of the most basic and important lifts to a lot of strength coaches. I haven't been able to go really heavy now sense early on in the football season. I'll definitely try these workouts. Thanks again for the advice.


#5

I had a grade 3 AC separation while playing rugby. I took rehab really seriously and now it's 4 years later and I don't feel any imbalance in strength or flexibility. It got better very slowly. Please be cautious of college strength coaches. I know there are some great ones, but if yours are having you bench despite an injury, they don't have your best interest at heart. Take the time to get better so you won't end up an arthritis ridden miserable old bastard one day.

I think the links in King Kull's post are spot on. I do that diesel crew warmup EVERY time I lift upper body.

Wishing you speedy and strong recovery!


#6

I, too, had a grade 3 AC separation (2005). I didn't go the surgical route and quit lifting for a few years because of frustration and pain. I started back up about 18 months ago and just took it extremely slow. I had to swallow my pride and focus, specifically, on proper form above all else; that meant making SLOW bumps in weight. With bench, I could only go as deep as my arms being parallel with the floor. It probably took 8+ months before I slowly started going deeper. Now I'm able to go down to chest depth and most of the pain is gone. I don't think I'll ever lift 100% pain free, but it's really close these days.

King Kull is spot on. Good warm-ups are so very important. If you have access to PT, you should really consider that. I wish I would have. Good luck to you. Remember, you're the best at understanding what you're body is trying to say, so be sure you're listening. I wish you the best and a quick recovery. Reality is that you're going to have to be very patient.


#7

Had really serious separation and partial dislocation. What everyone here says is right. I would add that you should forget benching until you can row pretty heavy. That means with good form (ask if you aren't sure and most guys do not know how to row, IMHO). The cup of the shoulder joint is one end of the scapula. Being able to control the scapula correctly and position it optimally with right muscles (depression and retraction) will really help speed recovery and avoid re-injury. Also, do be patient. The area has a really poor blood supply so healing is always going to lag.

I did find swimming helped it, but if you weren't a swimmer before hand, that probably isn't for you. Bad form + high reps (easy to get lots with a couple of laps) could make this a lot worse.

Best of Luck!

-- jj


#8

Hey technoviking,

fellow rugby player here. Got an Ac joint 1 separation 5 months ago and i plan on playing the upcoming week again. How long did you wait for you comeback?

Mainly trained legs and back all the time sometimes shoulders with easy load very carefull and slowly. Did some OHP this week nearly painfree.

greatings from germany


#9

[quote]Simon_Rugby_Bay wrote:
Hey technoviking,

fellow rugby player here. Got an Ac joint 1 separation 5 months ago and i plan on playing the upcoming week again. How long did you wait for you comeback?

Mainly trained legs and back all the time sometimes shoulders with easy load very carefull and slowly. Did some OHP this week nearly painfree.

greatings from germany
[/quote]

I torn my AC joint the week before the football season started this past summer. Sucked too because it’s my senior year of HS. Anyways, the athletic trainer told me it was a bicep strain which was fucking wrong so it ended up getting a bit worse. I was lucky enough that it was a grade 1 or two I believe. The collar bone is slightly out of place with a lump over the joint itself.

I continued to play football until I got kicked off the team for being injured too much. Took about a full 6 months to start benching again, and playing football was iffy. I couldn’t block properly. Take it slow, work your rotators and don’t be stupid.