Ask An Orthopedist: Grade 2 AC Joint Separation

Calendar January 9, 2018

Question: I was recently diagnosed with a grade 2 ac joint separation, and possible rotator cuff tear, with the injury happening 9 days ago. My doctor says I should immediately be doing range of motion exercises, but it hurts pretty bad still, and I read online in multiple places that exercises shouldn’t be done until there is no pain in the shoulder. I couldn’t find anyone saying what my doctor recommended. He seems like a great doctor otherwise, confused as to why he said this. Are there different schools of thought on this?

If you wait until there is no pain in your shoulder to start moving the shoulder, you would be at serious risk of developing a frozen shoulder which often takes months to get over.  Starting to move the shoulder not only makes the development of a frozen shoulder less likely but also tends to work the soreness out of the shoulder a little quicker.  I would not start strengthening exercises until your motion is doing good and the majority of your discomfort is gone.

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