Meier Orthopedic

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Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Pain


Acromioclavicular (AC) joint pain manifests as localized discomfort at the top of the shoulder. When this pain is chronic, it can be due to arthritic degeneration of this joint where the far end of the clavicle and the upper portion of the scapula (acromion process) connect. Deterioration of the AC joint can occur gradually over time due to wear and tear. This may be more common in individuals who have a history of heavy use of their upper extremities, such as weightlifters. AC joint degeneration can also develop after a direct injury to the AC joint, like a prior AC joint sprain.

Initial treatment for AC joint pain consists of conservative measures such as relative rest and a short course of anti-inflammatory medication. If this does not clear up the pain, injection therapy can be a reasonable next option. A corticosteroid injection is a popular, conventional treatment and may provide pain relief for several weeks to months. It is important to realize that repeat corticosteroid injections can accelerate the degeneration and worsen the condition over time in any arthritic joint. Another injection therapy option to try is dextrose which is very safe and well-tolerated. A diagnostic local anesthetic injection can help confirm the AC joint as the primary source of pain. However, while injection therapy can be very effective for many other conditions, it tends only to be a temporary measure for arthritic pain of the AC joint.

For persistent cases of chronically painful AC joint arthritis, distal clavicle resection is a surgical procedure that can permanently eliminate AC joint pain. Dr. Meier performs this surgery arthroscopically. Approximately 8 mm of the distal tip of the clavicle is removed with a high-speed burr, recreating a space between the acromion and clavicle, which then fills in with fibrous tissue during the healing phase. This facilitates the reformation of a “cushion,” eliminating the bone-on-bone contact.

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With outstanding precision and attention to detail, Dr. Meier provides all patients under his care the same level of attention as professional athletes receive. Read what some patients have to say about Dr. Meier’s life-changing treatments by visiting here.

I recieved Regenerative Injection Therapy on my right hip back in early March, 2018 from Dr. Meier. The result thus far have been very good - I have less pain and much better mobility. Dr. Meier and his staff are true professionals and have been great at setting expectations for the potential results of the Regenerative Injection Therapy process, making sure all my questions are answered in detail both before and after the procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Meier to anyone looking for alternatives to a hip replacement.

M. Hill

Dr. Meier is a fantastic doctor. He did a series of Prolotherapy Injections on my knees, shoulder and lower back, which saved me from having to have surgery. I trust him and his opinions on the best care for his patients.

Susan Kelber

I always have an outstanding experience when I have an appointment with Dr. Meier. Apart from being an outstanding doctor who listens to you, he has helped me so much in dealing with my pain from my accident. I highly recommend Dr. Meier. An added plus is the wonderful caring staff that he has in his office.

Terri Valencia
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