AC Joint Dislocation

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Dislocation is usually caused by a direct fall onto the point of the shoulder. The shoulder blade (scapula) is forced downwards, and the collarbone (clavicle) pops up. It is a particularly common injury in contact sports and cycling.

Dr. David Colvin, trained in orthopaedic surgery in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

AC joint dislocation

The signs and symptoms for an AC Joint Dislocation

What to look for with an AC Joint Dislocation:

  • Pain at the end of the collarbone or on top of the shoulder.
  • Pain aggravated by heavy lifting or lifting the arm overhead
  • Swelling on top of the shoulder
  • A visible lump where the end of the collarbone is displaced upwards stretching the skin.

Shoulder & Knee Surgery Perth

Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr Colvin.

How do we diagnose an AC Dislocation?

Severe AC joint injuries can be diagnosed clinically. There is a very obvious bump or deformity at the end of the collarbone. Less severe injuries can be diagnosed by X-ray and sometimes via an MRI.

AC joint dislocation

The three grades for AC injuries

A three-point grading system is used to classify AC Joint Dislocation.

Grade I

This is a mild sprain of the AC joint. There is no significant displacement to the collarbone (clavicle). The main ligaments holding the clavicle down, are intact.

Grade II

A moderately severe injury to the AC joint. There is some upward displacement of the clavicle which may or may not be visible on examination. The coracoclavicular ligaments are sprained but not completely torn.

Grade III

A severe dislocation with complete separation of the joint. There is a very obvious deformity with the end of the clavicle clearly popping upwards. The coracoclavicular ligaments are completely torn.

AC Joint Dislocation with Dr Colvin

The grade of an AC injury will determine its treatment. Grade I and Grade II injuries are usually treated nonoperatively by your orthopaedic surgeon.

Many patients with Grade III AC Joint Dislocations opt for early surgical reconstruction. If not treated surgically the bump is permanent and it may also be cosmetically unacceptable. The majority of Grade III AC joint dislocations typically remain painful without surgical treatment. Dr Colvin will discuss the pros and cons of AC joint reconstruction with you thoroughly.

If you need an experienced orthopaedic surgeon to assist with your AC Joint Dislocation in Perth, call 08 9489 8788. Or book your appointment online using the form below.

CO.RE Exercises

AC joint dislocation

In shoulder and knee reconstruction, successful outcomes from an operation are 50% surgery and the other half is rehabilitation. So you could say the surgery is the easy bit, and the rehabilitation is all hard slog. Dr Colvin’s CO.RE exercise programs are just that: a core plan for your successful recovery.

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AC Joint Reconstruction

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Reconstruction surgery is required to stabilise severe and unsightly AC joint dislocations. When the AC joint is completely dislocated, it causes a highly visible bump at the end of the collarbone (clavicle).
Read More

Shoulder Dislocation

A dislocated shoulder is a common injury. Your shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in your body and allows the arm to move in many directions during everyday life. Due to this incredible flexibility, your shoulder joint is at risk of becoming unstable.
Read More

Shoulder Bursitis

The shoulder joint has an incredible range of motion, more than any other joint in our body. The shoulder joint is also one of the most complex joints in your body. It’s made up of three bones and a multitude of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. What does it mean when you start to experience pain or stiffness in your shoulder?
Read More

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Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic Suite 213,
25 McCourt Street,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)

  • These rooms are part of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.
  • Parking is available on site.


Dr David Colvin operates at:
St John of God Subiaco Hospital
Salvado Road,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)