-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint

Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Arthritis of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint is a condition that affects the joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. This joint is essential for the proper functioning of the shoulder and allows for a wide range of motion. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones wears down, leading to pain, inflammation, and limited mobility. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for AC joint arthritis is crucial to managing this condition effectively.

Causes of arthritis in the acromioclavicular joint

Several factors can contribute to the development of arthritis in the AC joint. One primary cause is wear and tear due to aging. As we get older, the cartilage in our joints naturally deteriorates, leading to arthritis. Additionally, repetitive stress on the AC joint, such as lifting heavy objects or engaging in activities that involve overhead movements, can also contribute to the development of arthritis. In some cases, a previous shoulder injury or trauma can lead to the onset of AC joint arthritis. Understanding the underlying causes can help in preventing its occurrence or managing the condition effectively.

Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Symptoms and signs of acromioclavicular joint arthritis

AC joint arthritis presents with various symptoms and signs that can significantly impact a person’s daily life. The most common symptom is pain in the shoulder region, typically localized to the AC joint. This pain may worsen with activities that involve overhead movements or carrying heavy loads. Another common symptom is limited range of motion in the shoulder, making it challenging to perform activities that require reaching or lifting. Swelling and tenderness around the AC joint may also be present. Understanding these symptoms can aid in early detection and timely treatment of AC joint arthritis

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Diagnosing arthritis in the acromioclavicular joint

Accurate diagnosis is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment plan for AC joint arthritis. To diagnose this condition, a thorough physical examination and a detailed medical history are essential. Your healthcare provider may also order imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI to assess the extent of joint damage and rule out other underlying conditions. In some cases, a diagnostic injection may be used to confirm the source of pain. A comprehensive diagnosis is key to tailoring a treatment approach that addresses your specific needs.

Treatment options for acromioclavicular joint arthritis

The treatment for AC joint arthritis depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s overall health. In the early stages, non-surgical treatments are often recommended. These may include rest, physical therapy, and pain management techniques such as oral medications or corticosteroid injections. If non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief or if the arthritis is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options involve open or arthroscopic distal clavicle resection. Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific condition and needs.

Non-surgical treatments for acromioclavicular joint arthritis

Non-surgical treatments play a crucial role in managing AC joint arthritis. Rest and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain can help alleviate symptoms. Physical therapy exercises can strengthen the muscles around the joint, providing stability and reducing pain. Pain management techniques such as applying heat or cold packs, taking over-the-counter pain medications, or receiving corticosteroid injections can also provide relief. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding repetitive overhead movements, can help prevent further damage to the AC joint.

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Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint-Cyprus Orthopaedics

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.

Rehabilitation and recovery after treatment

After undergoing treatment for AC joint arthritis, rehabilitation and recovery play a crucial role in restoring function and preventing further complications. Physical therapy exercises are often prescribed to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the shoulder joint. Following a structured rehabilitation program and adhering to the guidance of a physical therapist can help achieve optimal recovery. It is essential to follow post-operative instructions, including restrictions on activities and proper wound care. Gradually increasing activity levels under the guidance of a healthcare professional can ensure a successful recovery.

Preventing and managing acromioclavicular joint arthritis

While it may not always be possible to prevent AC joint arthritis, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and manage the condition effectively. Maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate stress on the AC joint and reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis. Avoiding repetitive overhead movements or activities that put excessive strain on the shoulder joint can also help prevent AC joint arthritis. If you have a history of shoulder injuries or trauma, it is essential to seek prompt medical attention and follow proper rehabilitation protocols to minimize the risk of arthritis. Regular exercise, including strength training and flexibility exercises, can also help maintain joint health.

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Conclusion and final thoughts

Arthritis of the acromioclavicular joint is a condition that can significantly impact the shoulder’s function and cause pain and limited mobility. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for AC joint arthritis is crucial for effective management. While non-surgical treatments are often the first line of defense, surgical intervention may be necessary in severe cases. Rehabilitation and recovery play an essential role in restoring function and preventing complications. By taking steps to prevent AC joint arthritis and managing the condition effectively, individuals can improve their quality of life and maintain shoulder health for years to come.

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