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Shoulder Separation

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The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in your body, which makes it susceptible to dislocation. Shoulder separation can result from a blow to your shoulder or if you fall on your shoulder. A shoulder separation happens when you injure the area where your collarbone (clavicle) meets the shoulder. It is a common injury in contact sports.

This injury may also be called acromioclavicular (AC) separation or sprain, and results in symptoms that include:

  • A visible bump on the top of your shoulders
  • Limited shoulder movement and tenderness on top of your shoulder at the end of your collarbone
  • Severe aching pain at the moment of injury
  • Swelling and bruising of your shoulder

Our sports medicine team provides the most advanced diagnostics and treatments available to patients with sports-related injuries. Our revolutionary concept in sports medicine brings together a comprehensive team of highly trained medical professionals in a state-of-the-art facility to provide the best care for our patients.


Physical examination
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make the diagnosis.

Your doctor may order an imaging test – such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, or computerized tomography (CT) scan – to help confirm the diagnosis.


Physical therapy
In most cases, your healthcare provider will prescribe rehabilitation therapy. Our physical therapists establish a unique plan of care that includes specific interventions for your condition and situation to help alleviate pain and improve mobility.

Your doctor may recommend ibuprofen or naproxen for pain relief and to decrease inflammation.

Slings and immobilizers
Your specialist may recommend that you use a sling or immobilizer to keep you from lifting your arm away from your chest, so the ligaments can properly heal.

Arthroscopic surgery
Our expert team of specialists is board certified and fellowship-trained to manage these problems with minimally invasive approaches (where applicable) for patients with more severely dislocated or separated shoulders. Arthroscopic surgery is a same-day procedure that can be used to reposition bones, repair torn ligaments, and hold the shoulder together

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-class care in an academic health system. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

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