Acromioclavicular (AC) arthritis is a condition affecting the shoulder, often leading to pain and discomfort in daily activities. Dr. Michael Bercik, a renowned orthopedic surgeon at Lancaster Orthopedic Group, specializes in treating shoulder conditions, including AC arthritis. With his extensive training and experience, Dr. Bercik offers comprehensive care for patients suffering from Acromioclavicular Arthritis.

What is Acromioclavicular Arthritis?

Acromioclavicular ArthritisAC arthritis occurs in the acromioclavicular joint, where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the highest point of the shoulder blade (acromion). This joint is crucial for overhead and across-the-body movements of the arm.

Causes of AC Arthritis

  • Age-Related Wear and Tear: Like other forms of arthritis, AC arthritis often results from the wear and tear of aging, leading to the deterioration of cartilage in the joint.
  • Injury or Trauma: A history of shoulder injuries, such as AC joint sprains or fractures, can increase the risk of developing arthritis in this joint.
  • Repetitive Stress: Regularly engaging in activities or occupations that put stress on the shoulder can accelerate the wear of the AC joint.

Symptoms of AC Arthritis

  • Pain and Tenderness: The most common symptom is pain at the top of the shoulder, which can worsen with activities, especially those involving lifting the arm overhead.
  • Limited Mobility: The condition may lead to a decreased range of motion in the shoulder.
  • Crepitus: A grinding sensation or sound when moving the shoulder.

Dr. Bercik’s Approach to AC Arthritis

Dr. Bercik approaches AC arthritis with a comprehensive strategy starting with an accurate diagnosis, essential for effective treatment. Dr. Bercik utilizes physical examinations and imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, to confirm the presence of AC arthritis and assess its severity.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options:

In many cases, AC arthritis can be managed without surgery. Dr. Bercik often recommends a combination of the following:

  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve range of motion.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Changes in daily activities to avoid movements that exacerbate the pain.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections can be used to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.

Surgical Treatment:

For patients whose symptoms are not relieved with conservative treatment, or in cases of severe arthritis, surgery may be considered. Dr. Bercik utilizes state-of-the-art surgical techniques tailored to each patient’s specific condition. Surgical options may include:

  • Arthroscopic Debridement: A minimally invasive procedure to clean out the arthritic joint.
  • AC Joint Resection: Removing a small portion of the end of the clavicle to relieve pain and improve function.
  • Joint Reconstruction: In severe cases, reconstructing the joint using grafts.

Dr. Bercik’s expertise in these advanced surgical procedures ensures that patients receive the most effective treatment for their specific case of AC arthritis.

Preventing AC Arthritis

While it’s not always possible to prevent arthritis, certain measures can reduce the risk and slow the progression of the condition:

  • Regular Exercise: Strengthening the shoulder muscles to support the joint.
  • Avoiding Repetitive Stress: Modifying activities that put excessive stress on the shoulder.
  • Proper Treatment of Injuries: Ensuring shoulder injuries are properly treated to prevent complications.

Work With Dr. Bercik Today

AC arthritis is a condition that can significantly impact the quality of life but can be effectively managed with the right approach. Dr. Michael Bercik’s expertise in shoulder conditions, combined with his personalized approach to patient care, makes him a trusted choice for managing AC arthritis. With Dr. Bercik’s guidance, patients with AC arthritis can achieve pain relief and improved shoulder function, helping them return to their daily activities with comfort and ease. Please request an appointment online to get started today!