A sternoclavicular joint injury is a term that refers to any damage to the joint between the sternum and the clavicle.
Injuries to the SC joint typically result from high-energy injuries, such as motor vehicle collisions, or contact sports like football.
Symptoms of Sternoclavicular joint injury
- Pain right where the collar bone (clavicle) meets the breast bone (sternum)
- limited range of motion of the arm and shoulder.
- Some bruising and swelling
- Shoulder Instability
- Crepitus or popping and grinding sound upon arm movement
- Some may experience some breathing difficulties if there is posterior dislocation
Causes of Sternoclavicular Joint injury
- Direct Trauma
- Sports related accidents or injuries
- Overuse or repetitive stress
- Car accidents
- Ligament laxity
Classification of SC Joint Injuries
Grade I injury is a simple sprain of the SC joint’s ligaments with no structural damage. This is the mildest form of SC joint injury because there is no dislocation or subluxation
Grade II injury is a moderate injury and occurs when a portion of the clavicle becomes dislocated or subluxated.
Grade III injury is the most severe form of sternoclavicular joint injury and it commonly involves a complete tearing of the sternoclavicular and costoclavicular ligaments.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Sternoclavicular Joint Injury
Physiotherapy is very beneficial for sternoclavicular joint injuries. The treatment approach could initially start with using modalities such as interferential current therapeutic ultrasound, ice and cold therapy, laser, or shockwave therapy to help with pain and inflammation and promote healing. Manual therapy like soft tissue and joint mobilization may also be administered to help with stiffness and improve mobility.
The treatment will gradually progress to a range of motion and strengthening exercises, especially for the rotator cuff muscles and muscles that stabilize the scapula.
If you have had any type of shoulder injury, contact us to book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists today!