AC joint sprain - Rugby Injuries

Causes of AC joint sprain

The acromioclavicular joint, commonly known as the AC joint is commonly injured when the ligaments surrounding the joint become strained. The AC joint connects the clavicle (collarbone) with the scapula (shoulder blade). Injuries are usually caused by falls and direct impact on the shoulder; falling onto an outstretched hand will usually cause damage to the AC joint as the pressure radiates up the arm.

Types of AC joint sprain

AC joint injuries are categorised according to the severity of the injury; grade 1 strain usually involves only slight damage to the joint, while grade 2 strains affect the AC ligament and grade 3 strains affect the AC and the coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments.

Symptoms of AC joint sprain

Common symptoms include localised pain which may radiate to the arms and back, swelling and a limited range of movement.

Treatment for AC joint sprain

Initial treatment usually involves using ice and anti-inflammatory medication to control swelling and ease pain. The shoulder should be rested until it has healed; light exercises may help to gradually increase the range of movement and strengthen the tissue around the joint. The shoulder may be immobilised in serious cases to prevent pressure being applied to the shoulder.

Preventing AC joint sprain

Completing thorough warm-up and cool down sessions will help to prevent the risk of injury. Physiotherapy may help to condition the body in order to make it more resistant to future injuries.

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