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AC Joint Separation Questions
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AC Joint Separation Questions


I'm 42, and have a Type 2 AC joint separation that I got from a mountain bike crash about a year ago.  The main problem I am having now is that it is popping and clunking quite a bit.  Particularly when I sleep on that shoulder.  I lay on that shoulder and as I relax it goes 'CLUNK' and then that's it.

One of the things that puzzles me, is that it took about 6 months before I could sleep on the shoulder without it being sore, but other than that there has never been any pain or swelling.  Even right when I did it.  It has only ever bothered me when trying to sleep or maybe throw.

The ortho doc says that most likely the popping is from scar tissue in the AC joint, and arthritis is also most likely on the way.  He has presented a Mumford procedure as an option for me, depending on whether the shoulder is really bugging me or not.

So the questions...
First, can I expect the shoulder to get worse?  Right now I run, surf and mountain bike all with no pain.  Just the popping and occasional clunk (my non-injured shoulder pops a bit too btw).  

Second, if the expectation is that it will get worse, does it make a difference if I go for the procedure now or later?  Wait til the shoulder is at a point where surgery is the clear option?

Lastly, is there anything else I should be considering?  There is a clear physical deformity on that shoulder, so I dont know if there is any point in trying acupuncture or chiropractics (suggested by friends).

I've heard the surgery is horrible and the pain lasts 6-8 months... considering I'm not in pain now I find it hard to go for that...

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Hi there!

Though most patients respond well to the procedure, there is the possibility of symptomatic worsening. The possibility of this deteriorating further without ay intervention is best discussed with your orthopedician, since it would be difficult for me to evaluate without the relevant clinical details and the amount of degeneration. I would also suggest discussing the trial of other modalities of treatment with your treating orthopedician since he/ she would have a better idea depending on the exact situation.
Hope this is helpful.

Take care!
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