AC Joint Sprain Stretches & Exercises

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Buy AC Joint Sprain WorksheetAn AC Joint Sprain or Separation is often the result of falling with an outstretched arm. Movement of the joint will help increase the healing and decrease scarring.

The AC (acromioclavicular) joint is where the acromion and the clavicle come together.

The first stretches are called pendulums. Use a chair or counter top for balance, and lean over so your arm hangs down towards the ground. Move your body, not your arm in circles so your arm swings around like a pendulum. You can also rock front to back and side to side. Start off with 10 of each and work your way up to a minute of each.

The next stretches you can use a Swiss/therapy ball, or if you don’t have one, you can use a table or counter top. This is an active assisted stretch, which means you are moving the arm now, but the ball will support the weight. You will slide your arm forward with your thumb facing upward towards the ceiling and lean your body forward until you feel a stretch. You can stabilize the ball with your other hand. Hold it for 3-5 seconds, and start off with 10-15.

Next you will do isometric exercises for internal and external rotation of your shoulder. Isometrics are when you are activating the muscles, but not actually making the movement. You can use your other hand to push into, or you can do these exercises against a wall. You want to keep your elbow by your side. Bend your elbow with your fist out in front of you. Push your fist into your other hand gently towards your stomach and hold for 3-5 seconds. Then put your other hand on the outside of your fist, and push out gently for 3-5 seconds. You don’t have to push hard. You just want to feel a little pressure in your shoulder area. Do each of these 10-15 times.

For the last exercise, you will do a shoulder external rotation with a resistive band. Try to keep your elbows by your sides through out the exercise. If you want to roll up a small towel and place it between your side and your elbow for each side, this will keep your arms close to your side through out the exercise. Keep your elbows at about a 90 degree angle and your thumbs up towards the ceiling. Also try to keep your wrists in a neutral position. You don’t want to over stress your wrists, and then have a wrist injury. Slowly pull both arms out away from each other keeping your elbows at your side, and then slowly come back in. Start off with 10 of these, and then work your way up to 20-25. If that becomes easy, then move up with resistive bands.

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