AC is an abbreviation for acromioclavicular.
Your shoulder blade and collarbone are connected by your ligaments and AC joint. When you sprain your AC, it is considered a shoulder separation. There are different classifications for shoulder sprains determined by the extent of the tear. The three main types of AC sprains are:
- Type One: This is a slight tear to your AC ligament with no damage to your CC ligament.
- Type Two: This is when you completely tear your AC ligament with either no tear or a minor tear to your CC ligament.
- Type Three: If you tear both your CCC and AC ligaments, your collarbone will separate completely from your shoulder blade.
Although there are other types of injury to the AC, they are all extremely rare. These types of injuries can only occur when you tear both you AC and your surrounding muscles. The most frequent causes for an AC sprain include receiving force to:
- Your outstretched arm
- Either the tip or upper section of your shoulder
- AC joint damage due to a tackle or serious fall during a sporting game
Under most circumstances, you will begin to feel a lot better after three to seven days after receiving your injury. To completely heal, your body will require a minimum of six weeks. While you are healing, your scar tissue will not be mature. You need to make certain you do not overstretch your AC until you have completely healed.
The most common treatments for an AC sprain include resting, applying ice and using anti-inflammatory medication to help with your pain and swelling. Your physician will most likely put your arm into a sling for a period of one to three weeks.