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AC Sprain

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An AC sprain, also called separated shoulder, occurs when the acromioclavicular (AC) joint (connects your collarbone to your shoulder) is injured. The ligaments can be overstretched or — in severe cases — torn by falling on the shoulder or hitting the shoulder hard against another player or surface.

In severe sprains, your child’s shoulder blade may separate from the collarbone and appear lower down the back than normal. Your child may develop a bump on the shoulder, have trouble moving the shoulder, or experience pain at the top of the shoulder.


Physical Exam
Your child’s doctor will examine the shoulder to look for deformities, like the collarbone being out of place. They may also have your child complete a few movements to look for problems in shoulder function or to check for pain.

X-rays can show if shoulder bones are separated.


Your child may need to wear a sling to keep the shoulder in place as it heals.

Pain Medicines
Medicine can help manage pain as your child heals.

Cold Therapy
Your child can use cold packs on the shoulder to help reduce pain after an AC sprain.

Your child will need to give the shoulder plenty of time to rest and heal. Most mild to moderate injuries can heal on their own with proper rest.

Shoulder Repair Surgery
If your child has a severe separation or multiple torn ligaments, they may need surgery to help repair the ligaments and move the bones back into place. Your child may have arthroscopic surgery, which uses a few small incisions and a specialized camera, or open surgery, which uses a large incision, to repair the shoulder.

Physical Therapy
While your child recovers from surgery and after the shoulder has healed, they will need physical therapy to rebuild strength and range of motion safely.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

Home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician. The University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute is home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician, who completed specialized fellowship training to help athletes under the age of 18. You can rely on our expertise to help your young athlete recover, rebuild strength, and get back in the game.

Multidisciplinary support designed just for young athletes. We focus on caring just for children and teens, helping them avoid injuries and return to sports as quickly as possible. Each member of your child’s care team has years of experience and expertise caring for children and adolescents. From physical therapists and pediatric dietitians, to pediatric radiologists and orthopedic surgeons, you can trust that your child will receive treatment designed for their growing body.

Honored to be on your team. Even though we may treat some of your child’s sports heroes, our experts at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute are proud to offer all of our patients the same level of expertise at one of the nation's leading sports medicine programs. We combine top-notch care with research, clinical trials, and innovative treatments for your young athlete, at any skill level.

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