The sternoclavicular (SC) joint is one of the four joints that complete the shoulder. This joint is located in the area where the collarbone meets the sternum at the base of the neck. The SC joint is generally classified as a plane style synovial joint and has a fibro-cartilage joint tissue. The sternoclavicular joint is responsible for providing adequate support to the shoulder joint. It is also the main connection between the shoulder and arms. The ligamentous reinforcements of this joint are very strong, often resulting a strain of the joint. Although not common, sternoclavicular strain can arise from injury and other disorders.
Strain to the sternoclavicular joint typically results from motor vehicle accidents or participation in collision sports like football, rugby etc. While these injuries can be painful, most are relatively minor and will heal well without surgery. Very rarely, a hard blow to the sternoclavicular joint can damage the vital organs and tissues that lie nearby. When this occurs, it is a serious injury that goes beyond a strain and requires immediate medical attention.
The sternoclavicular joint can also be damaged over time, as the protective tissue that covers the ends of the bones gradually wears away. This type of degenerative change in the joint can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced motion in the shoulder and arm.
Let’s delve a bit deep into the sternoclavicular strain.