A shoulder separation is not actually an injury to the shoulder joint, rather it refers to the stretching or tearing of ligaments where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the shoulder blade (scapula), also called the AC joint.
Shoulder separation is almost always the result of sudden trauma or impact to the front/top of the shoulder usually from a direct impact seen in football, hockey or rugby.
Shoulder separation is typically a soft-tissue or ligament injury. The majority of these injuries are usually mild and respond well to conservative treatment. Some more severe separations may require surgery.
Treatment Options for Shoulder Separation
- Anti-inflammatory Medication – Dr. Hecht may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication for a period of time to calm/lessen the pain caused by the inflammation.
- Corticosteroid Injections Occasionally a cortisone injection is used to locally treat the inflammation. Dr. Hecht will discuss the risks and benefits of cortisone injections with you.
- Surgery If non-operative treatments fail to relieve the symptoms, surgery can be performed. If the AC joint is unstable, painful, and elevated, the ligaments of the joint can be replaced to stabilize the joint.
- Strengthening exercise and PT after surgery A successful outcome with surgery is dependent upon a dedicated and supervised rehabilitation program. Patients are referred to physical therapy where they work one-on-one with a licensed physical therapist 2-3 times/week to regain range of motion, strength, and the ability to perform desired activities. The overall length of physical therapy varies depending on the procedures performed.
Why Dr. Joseph Hecht?
Dr. Hecht is board certified in orthopedic surgery, providing expert knowledge and expertise in the area of shoulder conditions and treatment options. As one of the top Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland shoulder surgeons, Dr. Hecht brings years of valuable experience to every shoulder assessment.