Acromioclavicular Joint

The acromioclavicular joint is frequently injured, suffering from everything from sprains to outright tears and occasionally needing surgery.

Clinical Significance

  • Intact range of motion with the exception of cross-body adduction, behind the back motions, and overhead reaching, which all produce pain localized to the AC Joint  
  • Pain to the deltoid area upon cross-body adduction has also been noted and is likely caused by irritation of the underlying subacromial bursa by inferiorly projecting osteophytes of the AC joint
  • Differential diagnosis of AC joint pain includes calcific tendonitis, glenohumeral arthritis, adhesive capsultis, and rotator cuff impingement syndrome 
  • Physical Exam: The AC joint may be tender to palpation
  •  Pain elicited by the motion of forward flexion to 90° with horizontal adduction (cross-over test) or straight-ahead pushing (as in the bench press exercise) further suggests AC joint involvement 

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Locating the Acromioclavicular Joint

Acromioclavicular Joint


and Interesting Articles

  • Wong M, Kiel J. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Acromioclavicular Joint. [Updated 2021 Jul 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  • Hyland S, Charlick M, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Clavicle. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 30252246.
  • Lee SJ, Yoo YS, Kim YS, Jang SW, Kim J, Kim SJ, Kim BS, Jung KH, Varshney A. Arthroscopic Coracoclavicular Fixation Using Multiple Low-Profile Devices in Acute Acromioclavicular Joint Dislocation. Arthroscopy. 2019 Jan;35(1):14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2018.07.007. Epub 2018 Nov 16. PMID: 30455087.


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