Your Shoulder Anatomy

The Shoulder Joint is made up of 4 joints.

  • The Glenohumeral joint, (the ball meets the socket)
  • Sternoclavicular (SC) joint (the collar bone meets the chest bone),
  • Acromioclavicular (AC) joint (the collar bone meets the acromion of the scapula- the ‘tip’ of the shoulder)
  • Scapulothoracic joint (the shoulder blade meets with the ribs at the back of the chest) and the.
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The Acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) is situated on top of the shoulder and only connected by ligaments. ACJ joint dislocation is a common injury. The mechanism of this injury is usually a heavy fall onto the tip of the shoulder. You may notice a more prominent ‘bump’ at the shoulder tip when compared to the other shoulder. The injury is seen most commonly in sports such as football, rugby, bicycle, horse riding and skiing.

What are the treatment options?

Your pain, range of movement and function can improve with Physiotherapy. Some patients may have ongoing functional problems as they cannot return fully to their sport of job. Depending on your ongoing symptoms and damage to the joint, your doctor may offer you surgery to repair the joint.

What is the procedure and what does it involve?

The operation is done by an incision at the top of your shoulder. Most people are given a full general anaesthetic and normally discharged from hospital next day. The joint is made secure by synthetic material or tendon graft which stabilises the joint.

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