Q. Last week, I was playing flag football and banged my right shoulder into another player. It hurt and I noticed a bump over the outside of my collar bone. I went to urgent care and I was told nothing was broken and I had a sprain.
They gave me a sling and told me if it didn’t get better, then see my doctor. The pain is less and I can move my shoulder better but the bump on the outside is still there. It hurts to the touch and also when I move my arm across my body. Do I have a serious injury and what do I do?
A. You likely have an injury to the AC joint, better known as a separated shoulder. The shoulder has two joints called the ball and socket joint and the AC joint. If injured, the ball and socket joint, known as the glenohumeral joint, may result in instability known as a dislocation. The AC joint is where the collarbone attaches to the acromion bone. The joint is stabilized by two pairs of ligaments.
A mild injury to the ligaments may be painful but a bump will not be present. If the ligaments tear more, then the AC joint may separate and a bump could form. Most injuries to the AC joint can get better with rest followed by a rehab program although the bump may be permanent. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and optimize your treatment.
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Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.