Sternoclavicular joint pain appears when the bones of the shoulder joint do not work correctly. Here in this blog, we will cover symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for SC joint disorders.
- Bruising, tenderness, or swelling over the joint are some of the most common symptoms of SC joint disorders.
- Osteoarthritis and injuries can cause sternoclavicular joint pain.
- Anterior shoulder dislocation is one of the most common types of dislocation.
- Specialists use X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans for the diagnosis process.
- Corticosteroid injections and anti-inflammatory drugs are also good options. They help patients with an inflammatory condition or osteoarthritis to relieve pain and swelling.
What Is the Sternoclavicular Joint?
The sternoclavicular joint connects the sternum (breastbone) to the collar bone (clavicle). It is the only joint that connects the arm to the body. Articular cartilage protects the SC joint, which allows the bones to move smoothly against each other.
Ligaments, a tough connective tissue that surrounds the SC joint, provide stability and strength.
What Are the Symptoms of Sternoclavicular Joint Pain?
If you have a fracture in your arm or is dislocated, you may feel sharp pain or discomfort when moving it. Other symptoms of joint disorders involve:
- Bruising, tenderness, or swelling over the joint
- Limited range of motion in the arm
- Grinding or crunching sound on arm movement
- Chills, fever, or night sweats
- Redness over the joint due to infection
- Simultaneous radiation of pain to other joints due to an inflammatory condition
What Causes Sternoclavicular Joint Pain?
The most common sternoclavicular joint pain occurs due to:
They can range from a minor sprain that stretches the surrounding ligaments to a collarbone fracture. Sometimes, the shoulder joint might dislocate from its normal position. A collision usually causes these injuries. These collisions may occur in a car accident or while playing a contact sport.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the SC joint. . It occurs due to the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. People over the age of 50 or postmenopausal women are more likely to be affected.
- Other Conditions
Other conditions that affect the SC joint and trigger sternoclavicular joint pain are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Atraumatic subluxation
- Seronegative spondyloarthropathies
- Joint dislocations
What Are the Different Types of Shoulder Joint Dislocations?
The direction in which the collarbone is pressed during the injury determines its type. The types include anterior or posterior joint dislocation.
- Anterior Shoulder Dislocation
It is the most common type of dislocation. It occurs when the head of the humerus separates from the shoulder joint. A person may feel sharp pain and need immediate medical care.
- Posterior Shoulder Dislocation
These dislocations are less common than anterior shoulder dislocations and are hard to identify. It is usually a result of indirect trauma. Posterior shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball comes out of the back of the shoulder socket. During this injury, the end of the collarbone is pushed backward, behind the breastbone, and into the upper chest. It damages the structures behind the SC joint. It can lead to complications with breathing or blood flow.
How Are Sternoclavicular Joint Pain Diagnosed?
The doctor will examine the joint for swelling, bruising, or redness. He will assess the arm’s range of motion. The specialist will check the pulse at the wrist and elbow to see if the hands have adequate blood flow. Medical history and physical examination are enough to diagnose the condition. But the doctor may recommend imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests include X-rays, MRI, and CT scans.
SC joint disorders are not a life-threatening problem. Most cases can be treated without undergoing any surgery.
- Doctors recommend NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to get relief from swelling and pain in the SC joint.
- A shoulder sling also aids in the healing process. It helps to restrict arm movement during an injury or fracture. If you are experiencing SC joint osteoarthritis, you should avoid activities that cause pain.
- Corticosteroid Injections. These are recommended for patients with inflammatory conditions. It also helps people with osteoarthritis to relieve pain and swelling.
- Closed Reduction. It is another effective procedure to treat SC joint disorders. If you have a joint dislocation, the doctor will manipulate the clavicle back into place without making a cut in the skin.
- Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF). It is a surgical treatment performed only if non-surgical treatments fail to provide any relief. In this procedure, the surgeon will rearrange the pieces of the fractured bone. As a result, bones are back in their proper alignment. He will restore the fragments of the bones to each other with metal plates, screws, wires, or pins.