The AC (acromioclavicular) joint is the joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. It develops when the cartilage in the joint begins to wear out. Arthritis in the AC joint can prevent a person from completing ordinary tasks, particularly involving overhead activity.
Pain levels can vary depending on the severity of the arthritis. Initial symptoms of AC arthritis include pain when reaching for an item on a shelf, desk or table. The simplest act of stretching out the arm may result in pain in the front of the shoulder. The pain can become more significant over time.
Treatments for AC Arthritis can vary based on the significance of the pain. Unfortunately, there is no way to replace the cartilage in the joint once it is gone. One way to treat early arthritis is to modify activities so as to not aggravate or exacerbate the condition. Ice and anti-inflammatories can also help with symptoms. Cortisone injections can help with inflammation but will not help forever. As the condition progresses, surgery may be considered.