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Acromio-Clavicular (AC) Arthritis

    Acromio-Clavicular (AC) Arthritis

    A common cause of shoulder pain in weight lifters and patients with rotator cuff tears is arthritis of the acromio-clavicular (AC) joint. This is the small joint that connects the collarbone and the “roof” process of the scapula that protects the shoulder (acromion). Arthritis at this joint is common and usually does not cause symptoms, but occasionally the joint can become irritated and persistently painful. Initial treatment with rest, oral anti-inflammatories, topical anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections can be effective. If symptoms do not improve with conservative management, removal of the end of the collarbone either with a small open incision or with minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery usually results in good pain relief and return of function.