A shoulder separation is a sprain of the ligaments that connect the collarbone and the shoulder blade. "Separation" is a medical term meaning the widening of the space between the bones. Shoulder separation is also known as an acromioclavicular or AC separation. Different types depending on the severity classify this injury. It is either consider as a strain of the ligament without tearing, partial tearing of the ligament, or a complete tearing of the ligament.
The injury typically occurs in active people who fall on their shoulder. It most commonly occurs when a person lands or falls directly on the shoulder, driving the shoulder blade down relative to the clavicle. It can also occur if a person falls on an outstretched hand. Shoulder injuries are often cause by excessive overhead motion and also in athletes who goes through intensive training routines.
Signs that shows a shoulder separation occurred may be swelling and deformity such as a bump on top of the shoulder.
Sometimes the arm can be stiff and may not be able to rotate normally. The shoulder could also pop out or slide out of the socket. Symptoms that occur in this injury would include pain and tenderness in the muscle.
Athletes such as football players are common to have this type of injury from being tackled. Hockey is another sports where shoulder injury can occur due to the excessive blow to the shoulder from falling. Other sports such as swimming and tennis also cause injury to the shoulder from all the overhead motion. Common everyday activities can also cause shoulder injuries such as being thrown over a bike, washing walls, hanging curtains, and lifting weights.
Maintaining the strength and the stability of the shoulder and upper back muscles may help prevent an injury to the shoulder.