-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis treatment

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis treatment-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joint where the clavicle (collar bone) meets the acromion (part of the scapula or shoulder blade). This joint is responsible for the smooth movement of the shoulder, enabling us to perform various activities like lifting, throwing, and reaching. However, when arthritis develops in this joint, it can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility, significantly impacting our daily lives.

Understanding the Symptoms and Causes of Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis

The symptoms of acromioclavicular joint arthritis can vary from person to person. Common symptoms include pain in the shoulder, especially during movement or when pressure is applied, swelling or tenderness around the joint, and a clicking or grinding sensation. These symptoms can worsen over time, leading to decreased range of motion and difficulty in performing daily activities.

The primary cause of acromioclavicular joint arthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joint. This can occur due to wear and tear over time, previous injuries to the shoulder, or as a result of other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Age also plays a significant role, as the risk of developing this condition increases with age.

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis treatment-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Non-surgical Treatments for Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis

Non-surgical treatments are usually the first line of defense against acromioclavicular joint arthritis. These treatments aim to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve the function of the joint. Some common non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to provide temporary relief.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a customized exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the joint, improve range of motion, and reduce pain. They may also use techniques like manual therapy and ultrasound to alleviate symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage acromioclavicular joint arthritis. This may include avoiding activities that exacerbate pain, maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the joint, and using assistive devices like braces or slings for support.

Surgical Treatments for Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis

In cases where non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options consist of open or arthroscopic distal clavicle resection. The open technique allows outstanding visualization and is considered to be slightly less technically challenging as compared with the arthroscopic approach. Disadvantages of an open procedure include the potential for injury and resultant weakness in the reattached deltoid and trapezius muscles. These particular complications are much less likely with the arthroscopic technique, as these muscles do not need to be removed and then reattached. Outcomes of surgical intervention vary from satisfactory to rather impressive. Results on open resection of the distal clavicle are reported to obtain good to excellent results in 62–100% of procedures. The arthroscopic technique produces success rates of good to excellent results in 83–100% of patients.

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Acromioclavicular joint arthritis treatment-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Rehabilitation and Post-Treatment Care for Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis

Regardless of the treatment approach chosen, rehabilitation and post-operative care play a critical role in ensuring successful recovery from acromioclavicular arthritis. Rehabilitation usually involves a combination of exercises, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications to optimize joint function and prevent further deterioration.

During the recovery phase, it is important to follow the instructions of your doctor or physical therapist. They will customize an exercise program to gradually strengthen the shoulder muscles, improve flexibility and restore range of motion. It is important to be consistent with these exercises and attend follow-up appointments to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Post-treatment care also includes managing pain and inflammation through the use of prescription medications, applying ice or heat, and avoiding activities that may stress the joint. It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet and adequate rest, to support the healing process.

Tips for Managing Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis on a Daily Basis

In addition to medical interventions, there are several daily strategies that can help manage acromioclavicular joint arthritis and improve overall quality of life. Consider incorporating the following tips into your routine:

  • Practice Good Posture: Maintaining proper posture can reduce stress on the shoulder joint. Sit and stand straight, keeping your shoulders relaxed and aligned with your ears.
  • Avoid Overexertion: Be mindful of your shoulder’s limitations and avoid activities that cause pain or strain. Modify your movements or use assistive devices when necessary.
  • Use Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying hot or cold packs can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Use heat before engaging in activities and cold therapy afterward to soothe the joint.
  • Consider Alternative Therapies: Explore complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care to complement your treatment plan. However, consult with your healthcare provider before trying any alternative therapies.
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Seeking Professional Advice for Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis Treatment

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, but it is not insurmountable. With the right treatment approach, it is possible to manage pain, improve joint function, and regain a good quality of life. Whether through non-surgical treatments or surgical interventions, the goal is to alleviate symptoms, restore mobility, and minimize discomfort.

Remember to consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment option for your specific needs. Follow their guidance, engage in rehabilitation, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to support your recovery. With patience and perseverance, you can effectively manage acromioclavicular joint arthritis and continue to enjoy an active and fulfilling life.

Conclusion: Finding the Right Treatment Approach for Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis

Acromioclavicular joint arthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, but it is not insurmountable. With the right treatment approach, it is possible to manage pain, improve joint function, and regain a good quality of life. Whether through non-surgical treatments or surgical interventions, the goal is to alleviate symptoms, restore mobility, and minimize discomfort.

Remember to consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment option for your specific needs. Follow their guidance, engage in rehabilitation, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to support your recovery. With patience and perseverance, you can effectively manage acromioclavicular joint arthritis and continue to enjoy an active and fulfilling life.

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