ACJ Sprain

You have a sprain (partial disruption of ligament fibers) of the joint between the shoulder blade and collar bone.  This joint is the ACJ which is short for the Acromio-Clavicular Joint.

What should I expect and what can I do to help my shoulder to heal?

A sling will hold your shoulder in a comfortable position for a few days.

You should wean yourself off this as your pain settles and aim to remove the sling completely as soon as you feel able.

You may initially require regular painkillers as it is important to keep gently moving the shoulder and gradually resume daily activities within the limits of discomfort. This will prevent stiffness and ensure quickest return to normal function.

Forcible stretching is unnecessary, and is likely to cause pain and delay your recovery.

Symptoms may take three to six weeks to settle, but it may take several months for the shoulder to feel normal again.

There may be slightly reduced movement at the shoulder, especially when lifting the arm, but this is likely to improve over time with normal use.

This injury almost always heals well with time and use, no other specific treatment is required and therefore routine followup is unnecessary.


For advice on how to apply your sling please watch this video.

Physio advice

These exercises might aid in maintaining the mobility of the affected limb. Perform these exercises within your pain limitations and do not force your joint through the movement.

Stand leaning on a table with one hand. Let your other arm hang relaxed straight down. Swing your arm forwards and backwards.

Repeat 10 times

Move your affected arm towards the ceiling and then towards the floor with the help of your unaffected arm.

Repeat 10 times

Contacts / Further information

For any queries in relation to your injury or for further advise please contact your local Emergency department minor injuries or contact the NHS service on 111