NW Orthopedic Spokane Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Separation

Shoulder Separation Symptoms & Treatment

Shoulder separation is an injury to the ligament between the shoulder blade and collarbone. In medical terms, a shoulder separation is an injury to the joint at the top of the shoulder where the acromion meets the clavicle, called the acromioclavicular (or AC) joint. The ligaments that hold these bones together are partially or completely torn, allowing the bones to separate.

A shoulder separation is extremely painful at the time of injury and should be evaluated immediately by an orthopedist. Other symptoms include

  • Shoulder pain
  • Sizeable bump over injury site
  • Swelling or bruising


A shoulder separation is graded by the severity of the injury and the position of the displaced bone. In almost all cases, a shoulder separation is treated with conservative treatment such as icing the injury, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest. In rare cases, shoulder surgery may be considered.

Why choose Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists?

The shoulder doctors at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists have the training, expertise, and experience to assess, diagnose, and treat your injury or condition individually to your needs.

See a Specialist

To learn more about the treatment options available for shoulder separation, please request an appointment online, or call 888-660-2663.

Make an Appointment

Appointment Resources

Once you have scheduled your appointment with one of our shoulder doctors, please use the link below to obtain our new patient forms and browse through our tips and preparation suggestions for your appointment. 

Preparing for My Appointment & New Patient Forms

“I am 64 and had narrow AC joints in both of my shoulders along with arthritic deterioration and a few other lesser maladies that resulted in pain and limited range of motion. No, growing older is not for sissies. Dr. Ellingsen fixed both of them, the most recent one being on 2/5/14. I could not be happier! I've regained my active lifestyle and could not be more impressed or pleased with the great care and professionalism at all levels that I have received at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. By the way, I sought care at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists in the first place as a result of the outstanding care that my wife received there a few years ago for her shoulder surgery, as a result of a slip and fall, and which was a much more serious case than mine. We couldn't be happier! Thank you!” — Mark M