AC Joint Taping

AC joint taping is often used to help treat Acromioclavicular joint sprains, especially the more severe injuries where the clavicle bone is displaced upwards. The tape supports the acromioclavicular joint, holding the bones together whilst it heals.

The joint may need taping for 2-3 weeks. Failure to tape a bad sprain can result in loss of function and long term shoulder deformity.

How to tape the AC joint

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First, apply two or three strips of 2.5cm zinc oxide tape over the top of the shoulder covering the AC joint. This will provide an anchor for the support strip to attach to.

Next pass a support strip of tape from the front of the shoulder, down the side of the arm applying tension to the tape. Pass it under the elbow and back up to the top. This support strip will help pull the AC joint down. Secure the support strip with a piece elastic adhesive bandage getting the patient to tense the bicep muscle when it is applied to allow for muscle expansion. Finally, trim the lower part of the support taping away to finish.

First, apply two or three strips of 2.5cm zinc oxide tape over the top of the shoulder covering the AC joint. This will provide an anchor for the support strip to attach to. Next pass a support strip of tape from the front of the shoulder, down the side of the arm applying tension to the tape. Pass it under the elbow and back up to the top. This support strip will help pull the AC joint down.

Secure the support strip with a piece elastic adhesive bandage getting the patient to tense the bicep muscle when it is applied to allow for muscle expansion. Finally, trim the lower part of the support taping away to finish.


What happens if I do not tape my shoulder?

That all depends on how bad your injury is. AC joint sprains are graded from 1 to 6, depending on how bad they are. If you have a grade 3 or above injury, then you will have completely ruptured ligaments holding the joint together.

This results in upwards displacement of the clavicle bone. Eventually, your shoulder will heal but with the clavicle out of place. This causes a visible deformity and is likely to affect how your shoulder functions.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.

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