Acromioclavicular Joint  (AC Joint) Injury




Symptoms of AC joint injury can vary. Commonly people will have pain in the tip of their shoulder, and in the muscles that connect the shoulder to the neck like the upper traps. Pain is made worse with overhead use of your arm, and the joint can feel unstable in this position. In severe AC joint dislocations, people will develop a ‘step deformity’ which looks like a prominent lump in the tip of the shoulder where the collar bone ends.

How it occurs

Acromioclavicular joint injuries can be caused by trauma or through overuse. This injury is common in contact sports like rugby and AFL, and can be caused from a blow to the tip of the shoulder in a tackle or a shoulder charge. Chronic overuse pain is common for people who complete a lot of pressing movements with their shoulder, for example people who complete a lot of bench pressing in the gym.


Accurate and early diagnosis is key in the treatment of this injury. For severe injuries, some people will require surgery to re-attach the collar bone to the shoulder blade, followed by rehabilitation with your therapist. If you don’t require surgery, we treat AC joint injuries by reducing any deforming forces being put through the joint with taping and hands on treatments, followed by a rigorous and specific strengthening routine to promote stability of the joint.

Meet Michelle


Michelle is a physiotherapist and clinical Pilates instructor at Action Rehab, graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours). She developed a keen interest in treating upper limb injuries whilst on placement at university. Michelle enjoys using her clinical Pilates skills to engage people in exercise and support their rehabilitation goals.

Book a senior therapist consultation

Ben, our senior therapist, will offer advice on any management strategies you may need. Please note, if you request ongoing care, you will only have to pay our current rates. We do not charge Worksafe and TAC clients for any consultations.

Call 1300 76227to book an appointment or Click Here to book.

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