You are currently viewing A Closer Look at the Rehabilitation of the Acromioclavicular Joint (ACJ)

A Closer Look at the Rehabilitation of the Acromioclavicular Joint (ACJ)

ACJ an inside look

Acromioclavicular joint ( ACJ ) is the connection between your collarbone (clavicle) and shoulder blade. It’s stabilised by 3 major ligaments. It accounts for 40% of all shoulder injuries, 10% occurs in collision sports (e.g rugby, lacrosse, ice hockey)

Image for ACJ post
ACJ of right shoulder

Mechanism of injury of ACJ

– Direct trauma to the outside shoulder or the joint when the arm is close to the body.

– Fall on outstretched hand or elbow

american football player diving and hurting his ACJ

Different levels of severity of ACL injury

6 different classifications in total.

Grade 1: ligaments intact: minor injury

Grade 2-3: ligaments are torn and the collarbone is elevated

Grade 4-6: ligaments are torn with varying displacement of the collarbone

Rehabilitation Guidelines

  • P.O.L.I.C.E.
  • Range of motion (ROM); passive, active-assisted, active
    • Example; towel slides, pendulum swings, scapula protraction/retraction/ elevation/depression
  • Manage soft tissue tightness
    • Sleeper stretch for GHJ capsule
    • Pectoralis stretches
  • Avoid aggravation of injury
    • Exercises to avoid; bench press, prone press-ups, shoulder press or dips
  • Isometric exercises – ensure multi-angle, submaximal and subpainful
  • Closed kinetic – increase load as tolerated, add active arm elevation and rotation
  • Transition from closed chain to open chain exercises
    • Wall slides
    • Low rows
    • Punches
    • Across body pulls
    • Upper cuts
    • Abduction with various angles
  • Plyometric exercises;
    • Med ball toss and catch
    • Overarm throws
  • Sport specific exercises

For appointments

Triumph Physio operates in Mount Wellington and Newmarket, Auckland. We have qualified Physiotherapist registered under ACC that can help with your ACJ rehabilitation. For more info call us on 09 526 1448 or book online by clicking on the button below