(See also Overview of Sprains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries Overview of Sprains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries Sprains are tears in ligaments; strains are tears in muscles. Tears (ruptures) may also occur in tendons. In addition to sprains, strains, and tendon injuries, musculoskeletal injuries include... read more .)
Several ligaments surround this joint and, depending on the severity of the injury, one or all of the ligaments may be torn. Severe sprains tear the acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments.
The acromioclavicular joint is commonly injured when the clavicle is fractured.
Patients have pain and tenderness at the acromioclavicular joint.
Anteroposterior x-rays of both sides of the clavicle are taken.
Acromioclavicular joint sprains are classified based on x-ray findings:
Type I: No joint disruption
Type II: Subluxation with some overlap of the clavicle and acromion
Type III: Complete joint dislocation, usually because the coracoclavicular ligament is torn
Type IV: Posterior displacement of the distal clavicle
Type V: Superior displacement of the distal clavicle
Type VI: Inferior displacement of the distal clavicle
Types IV, V, and VI are variants of type III.
Treatment of acromioclavicular joint sprains is usually immobilization (eg, with a sling) and early range-of-motion exercises.
Some severe sprains (usually type III) are surgically repaired and require outpatient orthopedic referral.