What is AC Arthritis? When the articular disk between the clavicle and acromion begins to degenerate and become painful, AC arthritis results. Fractures of the distal clavicle and AC dislocations may predispose this joint to osteoarthritis. Repetitive upper-extremity activity can cause mechanical wear of the articular cartilage. Changes of the AC joint on x-ray is fairly common, with almost 62% of the dominant arms of those who participate in occupations and sports that require extensive shoulder use showing degeneration. Fortunately, despite the frequency of degenerative changes, few people become symptomatic and require treatment. [SIZE=+1] What are the symptoms of AC Arthritis?[/SIZE]Common clinical complaints of those who have AC arthritis are diffuse, lateral shoulder pain and/or local AC-joint pain. Pain at night is common. The physical exam commonly reveals local tenderness to palpation of the involved joint. Active and passive range of motion of the shoulder may intensify symptoms. Crossed-arm adduction of the involved shoulder with additional passive adduction by the examiner also aggravates pain. X-rays of the painful shoulder demonstrate typical degenerative changes of bony sclerosis, subchondral cysts, osteophytes, and joint-space narrowing.[SIZE=+1] What is the treament for AC Arthritits?[/SIZE]The treatment for AC arthritis is three-fold. First, you can treat it symptomatically with anti-inflammatories and activity modifications. A person with purely AC arthritis in their shoulder will not further damage their shoulder by playing and working through their symptoms. The second treament option is to undergo a steroid injection directly into their AC joint. This is different than the typical shoulder injection that is given for rotator cuff tendonitis. This injection is given into the small acromioclavicular joint on the anterior/superior aspect of the shoulder. Generally, the relief is temporary, but if the symptm relief is prolonged, multiple injections may be given as this injection is not given near a tendon. The third option is surgery. If the AC joint continues to be painful, the end of the clavicle is removed through an arthroscope. I think it's time.