AC joint injuries: What bicyclists need to know

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents |

When your bike is tapped by a motor vehicle, you may feel lucky that the accident wasn’t a lot worse – but that doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt in the process.

An acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation is one of the most common injuries cyclists experience in a fall, simply because it’s natural to throw your arms out to protect your head and face when you land.

What’s an AC joint separation?

Your AC joint is where your collarbone meets the highest point of your shoulder blade. When the ligaments that connect those two bones are damaged, the bones pull apart – and you can end up with an injury that ranges from mild pain and swelling that will eventually heal on its own to permanent deformities and disability that require surgery.

When should you suspect an AC joint separation? Some symptoms include:

  • Immediate, severe pain at the top of your shoulder
  • Tenderness and sensitivity to the touch around the joint
  • Swelling and bruising around the shoulder joint
  • Difficulty moving your arm, particularly if you try to raise it above your head
  • A noticeable bump on the shoulder where the collarbone has shifted

It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately after you’ve been knocked off your bike, if only to protect your health. 

How bad can a little tap from an errant driver be when you’re a cyclist? Pretty bad, especially if you end up with an injury that makes it difficult for you to work in the fall. Seeking fair compensation for your losses is your right.