Acromioclavicular joint arthritis results from the cartilage degeneration at the ends of the acromion and clavicle.
The smooth cartilage on the ends of the bones and meniscus present in between the bones breakdown causing inflammation in the joints. They are caused by repetitive arm motion in day-to-day activities, and cartilage degeneration that results from joint injury.
AC joint arthritis is a common condition that occurs with aging. It also occurs with repeated arm movement carrying large loads or with sports activities.
Symptoms of AC joint arthritis
- Pain and stiffness
- Catching and clocking sensation in the joint
- Pain becomes worse with overhead activities
- Pain while positioning the arm across the body
- AC joint arthritis can sometimes be mistaken with rotator cuff impingement, labral tears or rotator cuff tears.
Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms of the condition. Mild to moderate arthritis could be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy.
In the case of severe arthritis, or if the symptoms do not respond to the above primary measures, surgical intervention is needed.
Surgery involves removing the end of the collarbone and allowing the AC joint with scar tissue. It induces the normal movement of the AC joint and removes the rubbing of the raw bone ends.
Arthroscopic surgery is another option to remove the end of the bone to reduce the pain.