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Acromioclavicular Joint Problems. Help

I think I have some AC joint problems. Where my clavicular bone meets my shoulder I have a new bump the size of a marble. I have never been injured before so I dont know anything about anything when it comes to rehab and even truly knowing what is going on.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow and hopefully he will know what is going on and how bad. Having said that I have been reading and I am pretty sure it is AC joint problems. I also think it is very mild and I have read that there are about 6 cases and I am pretty sure it is not worse than case 1.

My question to you guys.

1- How bad is this injury in terms of getting back to the gym and pushing hard?

2- Does this get better?

3-Can it be rehabbed 100%?

4-How long does it take to fix? I want to make sure i take it easy and not compromise my shoulder.

5-What can I do to help it get better?

6-Eric Cressey, in one of his shoulder articles said NO MORE DIPS, ever! that really upsets me. (Getting geeky with AC joint Injuries). Are there any other exercises I should stay away while I rehab and are there any that I should never do again?

7- Are there any exercises I should be doing to help out?

8- is there a good read on this even if I have to buy it? something hopefully on rehab?

sorry for all the questions but I want to make sure I can come back to the gym and not permanently screw my self up. And to be honest I am pretty freaked out about this.

Thanks in advance.

I think we need to know specifics about the injury and how it happened; did you fall on the end of your shoulder?

An AC injury usually affects the AC ligament and Coracoid-Clavicular (CC) ligament depending upon the grade of the sprain/tear. The bump you see is actually the end of your clavicle as the AC ligament (and possibly CC ligament) have stretched and caused your arm to drop a centimeter or more. Don’t confuse this with dislocating your shoulder as the humerus most likely didn’t come away from the glenoid cavity of the scapula. I incurred the same injury from landing “just” wrong while playing football (2002). I did all the rehab myself and it eventually got better, but it took a while.

  1. You’ll find the biggest problem is holding on to weight as it will pull on the joint. I had to build back in to it over the course of a few months and I wasn’t pain free until about 9+ months (again, my personal experience)

  2. It will look the same unless you have it operated on. I’m not sure what a doctor would actually do to shorten the AC or CC ligament to bring the shoulder back in alignment.

  3. It will get better, but it will take some time. As of now, I’ve never said, “I can’t do that because of my injury.”

  4. After my injury, bench press and military press was out of the question. Doing back squats was also painful due to the new position of the arm.

  5. As with most injuries, time is necessary. Strengthening the surrounding muscles will also help: lateral raises, front raises, rear deltoid work, et cetera.

  6. I don’t think there’s any exercise I can’t do because of this injury. Test things out with light weights, your body will tell you what you can and can’t do.

  7. Lateral raises, front raises, rear deltoid work, et cetera. Anything that forces your humerus, scapula, and clavicle to work together is going to cause some form of pain because they will be articulating at the AC and CC ligaments.

  8. A body atlas is always a good start as well as Gray’s Anatomy (the book, not the fuckin’ TV show).

Good luck.


Thanks for taking the time to tell me all of this. To tell you the truth I am not sure what happened. I did a heavy workout last friday and for way to long. At the end I did some heavy BB shrugs and I think it might have been that what did it. I had dome some really heavy DB bench press as well earlier and I think by then my shoulders were very tired. Thinking straight now I should have cut my workout about 20min short.

regarding your comments:

1- Yeah I am scared that holding on to something heavy will increase the injury and that is why I am not sure if I should just stay out of the gym all together for a while? Sometimes, I dont know if this makes sense, my arm feels heavy on the shoulder.

3- Nice to know!

4-I did some push ups at my house very slowly to see if it would hurt and I was able to go through the whole range of motion with no pain. I am not about to go bench or do military press but I was happy to be able to do that.

5-Nice to know. I was scared to even consider doing shoulder work! I thought that might aggravate it.

7- nice to know

8- I will give those a look.

Would you say that your are 100% now or are you still self-conscious of the injury?

again thanks for your comments!

It stares me in the face every time I look in the mirror, but other than that I don’t think about it. In your case, it could be an inflammatory response or bursitis of some kind whereas mine was an acute trauma to the area. Nobody knows your body like you and if it seems that your workouts aren’t causing any problems, ease back in to it. Good luck redzhark.

Thanks a million patience!