When a joint has been injured, arthritis can set in over time, even after the injury has been treated. This is true even for the sternoclavicular (SC) joint. If the sternoclavicular joint has experienced a sprain, a subluxation, a dislocation or a fracture, then the surrounding ligaments and cartilage most likely suffered some damage, whether mild or serious. SC joint arthritis occurs when the cartilage around the joint begins to wear away, either from an injury such as these, or it decreases, naturally through the aging process and natural degenerative wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is a more severe form of arthritis and will continue to get worse with age. Proudly serving the Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado area, Dr. Peter Millett specializes in a wide range of SC joint injuries, including treating sternoclavicular joint pain associated with SC arthritis.

SC Arthritis Symptoms

As with any joint, the sternoclavicular joint is susceptible to getting arthritis and osteoarthritis. Symptoms of SC joint arthritis include a dull, constant sternoclavicular joint pain, shoulder weakness and stiffness in the collarbone area.

SC Arthritis Diagnosis

To determine if SC arthritis is the cause of sternoclavicular joint pain, Dr. Millett will conduct a medical review and complete physical examination. During the exam, the affected shoulder will be examined for pain, tenderness and swelling in the SC joint area. X-rays and an MRI are commonly performed to confirm the SC joint arthritis diagnosis.

SC Arthritis Treatment

The symptoms of SC joint arthritis can be treated with medication, rest and heat. Physical therapy has also been proven to be helpful in many patients so mobility, strength and range of motion can be managed. If sternoclavicular joint pain remains after conservative measures, Dr. Millett may recommend a surgical treatment designed to help alleviate SC arthritis symptoms. Dr. Millett will discuss surgical options with each patient at the first consultation.

For additional resources on SC joint arthritis, or for more information on causes of sternoclavicular joint pain, please contact the Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado orthopedic practice of Dr. Peter Millett.