The sternoclavicular joint, also referred to as the “SC joint”, is the joint located between the collarbone (known as the clavicle), and the breastbone (known as the sternum). The sternoclavicular joint supports the shoulders and is the main connection between the shoulder and arms, as well as the primary attachment to the main skeleton for the upper torso.  Just like the other joints in the body, the sternoclavicular joint is covered with smooth, fibrous, slippery cartilage which allows the bones to move smoothly against each other.

Sternoclavicular injuries are fairly uncommon, but they can occur at anytime during competitive sports, traumatic accidents, and also, as the joints naturally degenerates with age. Sternoclavicular joint pain is a pain that results from a sternoclavicular injury. Some examples of these injuries include:

Sternoclavicular joint pain is represented as a dull, chronic ache in the upper chest, collarbone area. This pain is often accompanied by stiffness and a sensation of instability and oftentimes spreads throughout the shoulder region.  Many patients will complain of a clicking or popping sound coming from the joint, and in some cases, limited movement and limited range of motion may also be present.  The severity of sternoclavicular joint pain depends on the actual condition or injury that is presented. A dislocation will have these symptoms, but they will be very severe and almost unbearable for some patients, whereas a Grade I sprain may result in mild pain and tenderness. If a patient has osteoarthritis or arthritis of the sternoclavicular joint, the pain will be chronic and persistent.

Dr. Millett will do a thorough examination to assess why a patient has sternoclavicular joint pain. He will most likely order an X-ray or an MRI to confirm his diagnosis, and from there, an appropriate course of treatment prescribed.

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