Self Help

Collarbone Conditions (Acromioclavicular Joint)

Collarbone Conditions (Acromioclavicular joint)

Shoulder conditions
Self Help Guides | Shoulder Conditions | Collarbone Conditions (Acromioclavicular Joint)


The Collarbone is called the Clavicle, the joint at the end of the collar bone near the shoulder is called the Acromioclavicular joint (ACJ). Causes of ACJ pain can be either after injury (for example falling on an outstretched hand or sporting injuries) or without injury (gradual onset, often related to osteoarthritic changes).


  • Specific pain at the point of the joint (ACJ), pain may radiate into the soft tissues adjacent
  • Pain when lying on your sides
  • Osteoarthritis more commonly in those aged >50
  • May be affected by posture e.g desk based workers sitting position
  • Pain with overhead activities e.g plasterers and athletes
  • With trauma the ACJ may appear raised or more prominent than the other side
  • Localised swelling over the ACJ
  • Reduced movement of the shoulder with pain at extremes of movement
  • Pain with daily tasks e.g brushing hair, reaching behind your back and reaching forwards whilst twisting
  • Pain when reaching across your body
  • Painful clicking


  • Activity modification
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy


  • If there has been trauma with an increased prominence of the ACJ and significant reduction in shoulder movement then a fracture or dislocation may be suspected, in this case an x-ray is likely to be needed via A&E to rule out these pathologies.
  • In severe cases should patients fail to respond to 6 months of conservative management via Physiotherapy the Physiotherapist will refer on to Orthopaedics for further investigation and possible invasive treatment.

Exercises to try

Collarbone Conditions (Acromioclavicular joint)

Shoulder conditions
Allied Health Professionals Physiotherapist working with a patient

We know about your body

We are experts in musculoskeletal and pelvic health physiotherapy, providing specialist assessments, management and self-management to our communities, helping them to return to optimal health and stay healthy.

Learn more about us