Chronic Shoulder Pain In Weightlifters

If you love weightlifting and have been suffering from CHRONIC PINPOINT PAIN in your acromioclavicular joint (AC jt) it could be a case of AC jt osteolysis. Osteolysis is essentially a stress fracture pathology with the joint/bone eroding faster than it can be replaced or repaired.


While not particularly common, there is a rise in this condition due to the popularity of bodybuilding, powerlifting, functional training & crossfit.


The injury is often caused by a workout program heavily comprised of bench presses, overhead presses and chest fly exercises. Without proper form, these motions cause the elbows to drop below or behind the body, and place the shoulders in a position of excess extension, increasing the stress on the joint.


Additionally, because weight lifters are often on a regimented schedule, the joint doesn’t have a chance to heal before the next training session and it starts to break down and deteriorate.

• REPETITIVE PRESSES + HEAVY WEIGHTS + POOR FORM + MAX REPS + FATIGUE + SHOULDER DYSFUNCTION + NO PAIN NO GAIN + NO OFF DAYS = RECIPE FOR AC JOINT OSTEOLYSIS. Sound familiar? SYMPTOMS: Pain and tenderness when pressing on the AC joint, after weightlifting, or brought on by reaching across the chest.


DIAGNOSIS: Confirmed with x-rays which will show the bone erosion of the outer end of clavicle. TREATMENT: Modify your lifting technique or altering your exercise selection may be all that is required for mild cases. In severe cases, 6 weeks rest from overhead weightlifting to allow the bone to heal. Restore shoulder posture and biomechanics. Pain relief can be gotten from anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), pain-killers or injections into the AC joint. Worse case - arthroscopic excision of the eroded bone. If this sounds like you, don’t wait until it's too late. Please get it checked out asap! Reach out to one of our caring and friendly Chatswood or North Sydney physiotherapist to start getting help. You’ll be glad you did.