Shoulder Separation

The acromio-clavicular (AC) joint is at the top of the shoulder and connects the collarbone to the acromion, which is part of the shoulder blade. When the ligaments that directly hold the collarbone to the shoulder blade suffer injury, this is known as a shoulder separation.


The separation can be mild, meaning that the ligaments are simply stretched, or the separation can be much more severe where the ligaments completely rupture. In the more severe cases of shoulder separation, a bump is visible at the top of the shoulder which represents elevation of the collarbone.

The cause of shoulder separation is often a blow or impact, directly on the top of the shoulder, that affects the ligaments that stabilize the joint. If the impact is strong enough, the ligaments that keep the clavicle in place are torn. This injury is common in contact sports such as football and ice hockey.

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