Shoulder injuries are fairly common in an accident. Bicyclists in Aurora may be at risk because of their vulnerability and lack of protection. One type of shoulder injury bicyclists might sustain is shoulder separation related to an AC joint injury. Learn what this condition is, how it’s treated and the types of damages that could be recoverable from at-fault parties.
What is the AC joint, and how does an injury to it cause shoulder separation?
The AC joint (acromioclavicular joint) is located in the shoulder where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet. A common AC joint injury is shoulder separation, which is the result of ligaments being stretched or torn. Most times it’s caused by a fall onto the shoulder. For instance, a bicyclist struck by a vehicle lands on the ground with force onto his/her shoulder.
How does the severity of a separated shoulder impact treatment and recovery?
Mild shoulder separation. If the AC joint is still aligned and there is minimal damage it is considered a minor injury. Generally, conservative forms of treatment are all that’s necessary. Examples include medication to relieve the pain, an arm sling and ice therapy. Recovery could take a few days or as long as a couple of weeks.
Moderate shoulder separation. A moderate injury occurs when the ligaments are stretched. As with mild shoulder separation, conservative treatment is enough to aid healing. The recovery could take a month or more.
Severe shoulder separation. This is the most serious type of injury. When this happens, the ligaments are completely torn. Pain is a common sign of shoulder separation, and when it’s severe, there is usually a visible deformity, according to a fact sheet from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).
In this case, surgery would be required. Once the pain begins to lessen, the patient will undergo physical therapy, not only to help restore strength, but also mobility because wearing an arm sling can lead to stiffness. Part of this therapy includes movement exercises, starting with the fingers, wrists and elbows, according to the AOSSM. With time, the patient then will be ready for range-of-motion exercises on the shoulder.
Recovery could take up to a couple of months for severe injuries. Of course, that depends on any complications. One of the most common is a painful lump. If it’s persistent, it could be removed. And there might be long-term chronic pain in some patients, which they should bring to the attention of their doctor.
What types of damages may be recoverable for an AC joint separation?
Whatever the type of accident, if someone suffers a separated shoulder injury, it’s important to understand his or her rights. The best way is to consult an attorney, especially when the injury is serious and will require surgery, also resulting in missed time from work.
Damages may include the medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more. An attorney can determine a fair settlement value, addressing not only current losses but future ones as well.
Call 303-300-5060 or contact D.J. Banovitz online to set up a consultation to discuss your Aurora bicycle accident.