Early symptoms of AC Joint pain can be self-managed with over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Resting from weight lifting often helps to settle the symptoms. If symptoms persist then specialist review is recommended. Often patients with AC Joint pain may need x-rays and MRI scan to confirm the nature of the problem. Blood tests are sometimes required to rule out infection in the bone.
If distal clavicle osteolysis is confirmed and the pain is no longer controlled by tablets or gym avoidance, the first line of treatment is usually a steroid injection given in clinic. (read more about steroid injections here) Steroid injection into the AC Joint can be diagnostic, in that if it takes the pain away it confirms the AC Joint as the source of the pain. Injections can be therapeutic in the they take the pain away and in some patients a single injection can give long term pain relief.
If steroid injections into the AC Joint don’t control pain, the next step in management would be to consider an arthroscopic excision of distal clavicle.