Shoulder Separation: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Administrator 24. March 2017 02:56

Shoulder Separation refers to partial or complete parting of acromioclavicular joint that attaches collarbone to the scapula (shoulder blade). The condition occurs due to tearing of the ligaments (coracoclavicular (CC) and acromioclavicular (AC)) that stabilize the shoulder joint. Based on the severity of ligament damage, Shoulder Separation can be divided into three stages –

  • Type I injury - Partial tearing of AC ligament, but CC ligament is unaffected
  • Type II injury - Complete tearing of AC ligament
  • Type III injury – Ripping up off both AC and CC ligaments


  • A direct blow to the shoulder while playing contact sports or an accident
  • Trying to balance the body with hands, during a fall
  • Activities like football, hockey, rock climbing, rugby, skiing, volleyball etc.


  • Severe pain and tenderness
  • Restricted movement of the shoulder
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Bump on the top of the shoulder due to displaced collarbone


The doctor may look for a bony bump on the affected shoulder and check range of motion of the joint. He may also analyze patient’s pulse rate to assess the rate of blood flow. If it appears to be a major damage, imaging tests may be recommended.


For type I and type II injuries, the doctor may recommend conservative treatment.

  • Supporting the shoulder with a sling may help to immobilize the shoulder and ease discomfort.
  • Performing muscle strengthening exercises may increases shoulder’s range of motion.
  • Icing the affected area as recommended by the physician may help to reduce inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed

Surgical treatment may be recommended to the patients suffering from type III shoulder injury. In this procedure, the orthopedic surgeon may trim the ends of a collarbone, so that it does not rub against the acromion (a bony projection over the scapula).

The surgeon may also perform a reconstruction surgery by excising the distal ends of the clavicle. In order to stabilize the joint, he may use a screw or suture.

Prevention Tips

  • Wear protective gear while playing contact sports
  • Warm up before a strenuous exercise
  • Exercise daily

If you are looking for an effective treatment of Shoulder Separation, visit Dr. Fagelman in Carrollton, TX. He has an extensive experience in treating a wide range of sports related injuries. To schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, you can call at (972) 492 – 1334.

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