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  1. #1
    Registered User danmitch87's Avatar
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    AC Joint popping after surgery???

    Hey All, I am worried and need some help!

    I underwent arthroscopic surgery (Bankart with Capsular Shift) for shoulder instability 14 weeks ago. I was in a sling for 6 weeks and then started physio. By now I should be able to have full range of motion. The problem is that when I move my arm all the way back (as if im hugging) then up above my head, there is popping by the AC joint. The same popping happens anytime I have my arm in the position where I would be in court under oath with my hand in the air...like throwing a baseball. If i go back and forth I can feel popping. If i try to raise my hands sideways and reach up the pop is loud and uncomfortable but there is no pain. I can definitely feel something moving around though.

    I went to see my surgeon last week because I thought there was a problem with the surgery but he informed me at that point that its the AC joint and he had nothing to do with that. This never happened before surgery....I was able to bench and do military press with no problem, as well as having full ROM, but the surgery was to prevent dislocations.

    My surgeon said he thinks its because I have loose joints in general and my shoulder is stiff, causing the popping/moving and it should go away eventually. He is a douche though and I don't really trust him. He would say things like "well do you need to make that motion for work?" and I would tell him, "no, but the whole point of this surgery is so I can play with my kids and throw a fackin football one day and now this is a new problem in the way of that".

    Does anyone here know if this sounds normal? Has anyone experienced this? I'm pissed because I can't get back my range because of this....physio is going slow.

    Ps. it seems like the AC joint location but the doc only looked at it quickly so maybe there's another explanation?

    Thanks for any help!
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  2. #2
    My mesomorph has awakened GreaseMark's Avatar
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    This doctor does sound a little defensive about his work. Ask around and find one of the shoulder specialists that the local college or professional football or baseball teams use and get another opinion there. That's where I would start.
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  3. #3
    Registered User beachguy498's Avatar
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    When you touch the AC joint area, is there any pain? What does your physical therapist say about it? A good one can really tell you what's going on in most cases or at least narrow it down. I'm thinking maybe you have scar tissue, how is your ROM?

    BG
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    Registered User danmitch87's Avatar
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    There is no pain when I touch the AC joint. My PT isn't too sure why it's popping, and my ROM is pretty good, but I don't push it because when I get to a certain point it will always pop, so I haven't been working on stretching out and getting full ROM. I suppose I should see another specialist as recommended, but for now I guess I will continue with physio and hope it gets better as the rest of my back and traps strengthen and are able to be of better support.
    Thanks for the input guys.


    Originally Posted by beachguy498 View Post
    When you touch the AC joint area, is there any pain? What does your physical therapist say about it? A good one can really tell you what's going on in most cases or at least narrow it down. I'm thinking maybe you have scar tissue, how is your ROM?

    BG
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  5. #5
    Registered User beachguy498's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by danmitch87 View Post
    There is no pain when I touch the AC joint. My PT isn't too sure why it's popping, and my ROM is pretty good, but I don't push it because when I get to a certain point it will always pop, so I haven't been working on stretching out and getting full ROM. I suppose I should see another specialist as recommended, but for now I guess I will continue with physio and hope it gets better as the rest of my back and traps strengthen and are able to be of better support.
    Thanks for the input guys.
    Well, you are 14 weeks out of surgery and the healing takes time. It might not even be the AC joint that is popping, unless the PT person can feel it pop. Full ROM is the first thing to shoot for in PT and the therapist does the stretching for you, really impossible to hit the ROM or get headed that way yourself. I'd keep up with the PT but do have them work on what's going on with your popping issue. They just can't ignore it on you.

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  6. #6
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    First off, your doctor sounds like he is brushing you off. I would find another doc for a second opinion. To get a good diagnosis, you may have to sign release forms and get all your medical history sent over to the new doctor. It appears a second opinion is necessary since your current doctor doesn't see an issue. If he doesn't see this as an issue, chances are he won't put in any effort for a diagnosis.

    This popping you have, does it feel like something is "catching"? How long has it been popping for? 14 weeks is still rather early in recovery and scar tissue breaking can cause popping.

    Can you try and figure out the exact origin of the pop and mark it on a diagram? I realize this is hard to do, since it happens rather suddenly and isn't causing pain. Popping issues are tricky to deal with, especially if nothing is showing on film. Most PT's will tell you that popping is OK as long as pain isn't present. Not saying I agree with this, but it's what I have heard from every therapist I've had.

    Have you taken any medications to help? Any ice or heat to the area? The popping could be caused by inflammation in the shoulder rubbing against something during the motion. I'd try some Aleve for a few weeks, along with some ice and heat. Try to stretch everyday, avoiding the ROM that causes the popping. Tendons tend to shorten after surgery and immobilization, stretching will help regain flexibility and overall shoulder function. Make sure to include some heat before/after stretching to really maximize the benefits. Also, make sure to focus on getting strength in your back (rows are great for this) to help pull your shoulders back and overall provide support your shoulder (this also includes your traps). In addition, RC strengthening should be included (internal/external rotations). I would also include Fish Oil (helps with overall health, including inflammation and joint lubrication) and a joint supplement (something that includes glucosamine and MSM).

    Hopefully this issue can clear up for you soon.
    My recovery journal: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=123572831
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