Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis
Although the exact cause of AC joint arthritis is unknown, we do know this is a “wear and tear” arthritis that is most common in people over the age of 50. It is also more common in women. People who repeatedly lift heavy objects above the head are more likely to experience AC joint arthritis at a younger age. It can also develop following an injury, such as a fall.
In the early stages, symptoms are usually only minor pain or tenderness in the front of the shoulder near the joint. Pain will worsen progressively, especially as the joint experiences repeated use. A grinding or clicking sensation when moving the joint is also common.
Physicians will assess symptoms and medical history in order to properly diagnose acromioclavicular joint arthritis. A physical examination will identify pain, tenderness, and restricted range of motion. X-rays may also be used to indicate degeneration of the joint.
In most cases, acromioclavicular joint arthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and reducing activities that trigger symptoms. If conservative measures do not bring relief, surgery may be required.