Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis Specialist Singapore

Dr. Bryan Tan


AC joint arthritis develops when the cartilage in the AC joint begins to wear out, resulting in pain and joint stiffness. It is vital to understand your symptoms and seek medical treatment as soon as possible, as early diagnosis and management can reduce the complications of acromioclavicular arthritis.

What Is Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis?

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the top tip of the shoulder, where a the part of the shoulder blade (acromionscapula) and the collarbone (clavicle) meet.

AC joint arthritis develops when the cartilage in the AC joint begins to wear out, resulting in pain and joint stiffness.

What Causes Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis?

The common causes of acromioclavicular joint arthritis are:

  • Joint trauma or injury
  • Age
  • Years of manual labour

What Are the Symptoms Of Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis?

Common symptoms of acromioclavicular joint arthritis include:

  • Pain at the AC joint, aggravated by movements of the arm
    Swelling over the AC joint
  • Loss of range of motion of the shoulder
  • Clicking, snapping or popping sensation

How Is Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will physically examine your AC joint to check for tenderness, pain or signs of muscle weakness. He will also assess movements of your shoulder, specifically looking for limitations caused by AC joint arthritis.

Additional diagnostic tests may also be performed to obtain further information on the AC joint or to rule out other possible problems:

Injection of a local anaesthetic

A local anaesthetic such as lidocaine may be directly injected into the painful joint. Diagnosis of AC joint arthritis is likely confirmed if the pain is relieved temporarily.


X-rays can reveal narrowing of the AC joint or the presence of bone spurs.

MRI scans

MRI scans provide more detailed images of the shoulder joints to show signs of inflammation and swelling.

​​Is your shoulder pain affecting your quality of life, and your ability to perform everyday activities such as working, playing sports and wearing your clothes?

Dr. Tan will assess your symptoms in detail before recommending the right surgical option for your specific injury.

How Is Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis Treated?

Common treatment methods include:

  • Taking oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Warm compression to minimise pain
  • Rest
  • Activity modification by avoiding certain activities and exercises that may aggravate the acromioclavicular joint

Surgery may be recommended if your symptoms worsen or if non-surgical treatment options are ineffective.

Resection arthroplasty is the most common surgery for acromioclavicular (AC) joint arthritis. For this surgical procedure, your doctor will remove a small amount of bone from the end of your collarbone to prevent the clavicle and the acromion from rubbing against each other during shoulder movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is acromioclavicular joint arthritis serious? When should I visit a doctor?
Can acromioclavicular joint arthritis be prevented?

Billing & Payment

Medisave & Insurance Claims

The following are accredited For Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreigners. If your insurance is not listed, you will still be able to make claims for eligible procedures! We have experience processing claims from many other various insurance providers. Please contact us if you have any queries.


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