The end of the clavicle meets the acromion bone, or bone at the top of the shoulder, at the AC joint. AC joint osteolysis, or weight lifter’s shoulder, occurs when the end of the clavicle experiences tiny fractures that cause the bone to start deteriorating.
- Pain upon moving or touching the shoulder
- Weakness in the arms
- Pain when arm is crossed over body
AC joint osteolysis usually occurs in weightlifters because of the repetitive stress put on the bone. When the elbows extend behind the shoulder, the ligaments supporting the AC joint overextend, causing the bone to rub against the acromion bone. Fractures will result and, if not given enough time to heal before the motions are repeated, AC joint osteolysis will develop. This does not only affect weightlifters, as it is common in those who operate jackhammers or whose work requires heavy lifting.
PHYSICAL THERAPY AC JOINT OSTEOLYSIS
A physical therapist can help a patient alter their weightlifting techniques to take stress off the AC joint, giving the clavicle time to heal. By simply using proper hand placements and exercises, pain will be relieved and the AC joint will stabilize. A physical therapist will use modalities to decrease pain and inflammation. A physical therapist will gradually stretch the muscles that have tightened as a result of injury, helping to recover loss of range of motion. Strengthening the surrounding shoulder muscles will give the joint stability, which will prevent further wear and tear of the joint.