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Arthritis at the acromioclavicular joint

- ac arthritis -

ac arthritis shoulder, acromioclavicular arthritis


What is an arthritis of the ac joint ?
Acromioclavicular arthritis is a bony destruction at the joint, which is formed by the lateral clavicle and the shoulder roof, called the acromion. AC arthritis is one of the most frequent joint destruction of the human body.

Development of ac arthritis ?
An endogen, genetic, disposition might by the cause of it. Sometimes acromioclavicular arthritis is a disease of it´s own and the only and isolated problem at the affected shoulder. Often, AC arthritis is combined with other shoulder pathologies like impingement syndrome or rotator cuff tear. A trauma or overuse in job / profession or sports for years could induce an ac arthritis.

Symptoms of an acromioclavicular arthritis?
Local pain at the ac joint is a typical symptom. Pain is present while working in or above shoulder heights with the affected arm. People performing bodybuilding or powerlifting have problems and pain at the ac joint quite frequent. Significant pain can occur while lifting suitcases, bags and so on. Pain can radiate into the arm or neck. Performing crossbody action in shoulder heights might be painful ( washing of the opposite face side or turning a wheel )

Diagnostics of ac arthritis ?
An interview and especially a clinical examination and x-ray are most important to diagnose an ac arthritis. An MRI or scintigraphy might be used, also.

Therapy of the ac arthritis ?
Local injections, for example containing corticosteroids, are very effective. Pain medication and antiinflammatory drugs are combined with physical and physiotherapy to treat an acromioclavicular arthritis.
If nonoperative therapy is not successful an operation will be performed. This is done arthroscopically an bone at the lateral clavicle is removed . the so called lateral clavicle resection is done endoscopically. If a destrctucted cartialge is present ( 30 to 50 percent of the cases ) it is removed arthroscopically as well. That is also called a "Mumford procedure" or "Mumford operation". You can see it at the bottom of this page, if you press the play button.

Prognosis an acromioclavicular arthritis ?
This is a small and simple operation, which is very efective. Results to get rid of pain are very good. 85 to 95 percent of the patient get rid of pain for ever. A prerequisity is that concomitant shoulder pathologies are treated as well, for example a rotator cuff suture or acromioplasty will be performed, if necessary.

Rehabilitation of the operated arthritic ac joint ?
The operation can be performed with a short time hospital ( 2 to 4 days ). A splint is not necessary - as long as no rotator cuff repair is necessary. Active motion of the shoulder and arm are allowed.



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