Acromioclavicular joint injuries in overhead athletes: a concise review of injury mechanisms, treatment options, and outcomes

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2019 Jun;12(2):80-86. doi: 10.1007/s12178-019-09542-w.


Purpose of the review: To review the relevant literature surrounding acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries particularly pertaining to overhead athletes.

Recent findings: The AC joint is a unique anatomic and biomechanical portion of the shoulder that can be problematic for athletes, particularly throwers, when injured. Treatment of these injuries remains a topic in evolution. Low-grade injuries (Rockwood types I & II) are typically treated non-operatively while high-grade injuries (types IV, V, and VI) are considered unstable and often require operative intervention. Type III AC separations remain the most controversial and challenging as no clear treatment algorithm has been established. A wide variety of surgical techniques exist. Unfortunately, relatively little literature exists with regard to overhead athletes specifically. Treatment of AC joint injuries remains challenging, at times, particularly for overhead athletes. Operative indications and techniques are still evolving, and more research is needed specifically surrounding overhead athletes.

Keywords: Acromioclavicular joint injuries; Acromioclavicular separation; Overhead athletes.

Publication types

  • Review