Sternoclavicular Dislocations

SC joint
The sternoclavicular joint is the joint between the end of the clavicle and the sternum (white circle).
The sternoclavicular joint is the joint between the clavicle (collarbone) and sternum (breast bone). It is an uncommon injury when you consider all shoulder injuries. It typically occurs in contact and collision sports, such as football and rugby. It is a very painful, and potentially dangerous, injury, and a sports medicine physician should see athletes who are suspected of having this injury immediately.

Typically the athlete is injured with a direct blow, either to the chest or shoulder. Depending on the direction of the force, a blow to the shoulder can cause an anterior or posterior sternoclavicular dislocation. An anterior dislocation of this joint means that the collarbone has popped out in front of the sternum. A posterior dislocation means that the collarbone has gone behind the sternum. While both types of dislocations are very serious, a posterior dislocation can be a surgical emergency, as the end of the collarbone becomes extremely close to the airway and large blood vessels of the heart and chest.

The athlete will complain of pain in the shoulder and/or chest immediately. He likely will have difficulty moving the arm due to the pain. Posterior dislocations can often cause the athlete to have difficulty breathing, and the physician may notice that he is short of breath or wheezing.

Posterior sternoclavicular dislocation
Note how the end of the left clavicle (which is the one on the right in the image) has dislocated behind the sternum.
Physical examination usually shows that the end of the collarbone is very prominent on the injured side if it is an anterior dislocation, and the athlete will be very tender at that location. Evaluation with x-rays, and a CT scan if needed, is critical, so I send players with suspected sternoclavicular dislocations to the emergency room right away.

Posterior sternoclavicular dislocation
On this three-dimensional CT scan, note how close the dislocated clavicle is to the large blood vessels of the chest. This injury needs urgent reduction.
Treatment of these injuries depends on the direction of the dislocation. Anterior dislocations can be put back in place with gentle pressure on the clavicle, pushing it back in line with the sternum. Sometimes it’s difficult to reduce into the proper position, or it pops back out of place, but fortunately an anterior dislocation leaves only a cosmetic deformity. Usually little long-term functional deficit exists after the athlete has recovered.

A posterior dislocation, on the other hand, needs urgent reduction. Whether this reduction is done in the emergency room or the operating room is controversial. The clavicle needs to be reduced back into place with the sternum to prevent the clavicle from causing injury to the blood vessels and airway nearby. Occasionally surgery to open the joint and manually put the clavicle back into place is needed.

122 Responses to Sternoclavicular Dislocations

  1. Hi,
    I’m a 14 year old swedish boy that dislocated my collarbone by the sternum two days ago and I have a big rugby game in 5 weeks.
    Will I be able to play?

    • Generally athletes can return to play when pain, swelling, motion, and strength return to normal after an anterior SC dislocation.

    • Sir I am 23 year old my calavicle move 79.4 to 85.7 I fall few pain my left hand shoulder doctor tell me it takes 3 weeks for recovery but my game will start within 4 weeks I need practice can I play my game ???

  2. I was involved in a bicycle crash on June 6. I have a broken 4th rib in my back.also my doctor says that Ihave a anterior collarbone – sternum dislocation .there’s not much pain in the collar bone. Some clicking though Full range of colours in bruising on right side of chest. doc says to just leave it alone ,and start doing some light range of motion exercises .In your opinion is this the correct course of action ?I was in the whirlpool today and did some easy yoga moves,good results. Not using sling , able to drive car ,shift gears. Am I making things better or worse? Using less Ibuprofen each day.

  3. I have a dislocation in both my right AC & SC joints, they both make the clavicle to appear raised to the outside (piano-key), the displacement is about half centimeter (quarter inch) near the AC end and quarter centimeter (eighth of an inch) from the SC end of the clavicle, is there away to force the clavicle into its place manually without surgery?
    (if so please what’s this process called, and what specialist should I be seeing?). Thank you so much.

    • Typically it is not possible to reduce the clavicle and keep it in place without a surgical procedure. Depending on the extent of injury, though, many patients do not need surgery to regain full function.

      • i have a one side prominent clavicle and slight stifness. its visible for me to see my right clavicle is prominent than my left clavicle .i dont have any pain in any range of motion. can u just answer me sir is this is a normal case. or is their any kind of dislocation

      • I have the same thing and my doctors and PT don’t know what it is! I found it right away. Now I want them to fix it! I hate it, I’m asymmetrical!

    • I am going through pain every day i am 27 year suffer from pain in the sternoclavicular joint problem i can’t use my right hand also in pain when i move i do know what to do. I am on tramadol at the moment. I been in pain for 1year 6 months. Even my doctor dont know he said surgery is not in the picture it have to heal by it self .i hope you fine a solution for your problem

  4. Hi
    Three months ago I suffered from an anterior SC dislocation I now have full range of motion with little to no pain on my on my collarbone. But I’m not sure if it healed properly the bone is still patruding and I get a lot of pain when I reach over the opposite shoulder and try to grab my shoulder blade! So does that maybe mean it’s still dislocated??? Oh yeah and for some reason I get a lot of pain on my SC joint out to my shoulder when I smoke pot.

      • Me too. I also have a lump feeling in my throat and effecting my voice. I get dizzy and more pain in my hand and face when I look to the side that is dislocated. I was told I also dislocated my first rib. Desperate for the right person who can help.

  5. I’m a previously healthy 43 year old woman. Diagnosed with a posterior and superior sc dislocation. After figure 8 surgery clavicle still moves around causing pain/thoracic outlet syndrome and claw-hand symptoms. (And much more)
    If you have experienced similar, please respond here, or at my email. I am searching for doctors with expertise that can help. Thank you for your time. H

  6. My 14 yr old has a anterior dislocated SC joint doctor says all of the things that are said here about recovery just not clear on how you can manage after it heals and you get range back he plays sports what is he gets hit there in a yr will it make it worse. What about lifting weights or anything really. Will it move out of place then. Just confused he people can do everyday things even with it slightly out of place.

  7. My daughter dislocated her anterior SC about 3 months ago while diving off of 5 meter platform. She took a few days off but continued to dive after she was no longer in pain.i took her to the doctor after she noticed that it was popping on and out. Just recently a trainer told her that she has instability there and will not be able to strengthen her shoulder muscles unless it heals. Should she continue to dive? Should she strengthen her muscles. She has had a lot of rotator cuff pain and pectoral strains in the same side maybe due to the SC issue.

  8. Do you need to strap your shoulder if you are returning to play football after having an operation for posterior dislocation.
    My son was operated was on 10 weeks ago and wanting to return to football.

    • Generally many orthopaedic surgeons don’t brace athletes when they return to play after stabilization surgery for shoulder dislocations, although it often take 4-6 months before return is possible.

  9. Hello Doctor,

    My R SCJ is subluxed posteriorly. I have seen sports med doc. He does not seem to think I will have any long term issues with this once it is healed. In your opinion, what is the prognosis for posterior subluxation w no intervention?

    I am having trouble understanding how this joint can function properly and pain free when its original alignment is off. I have worked back up to using R arm lightly for daily activities w minor swelling and pain. I am very apprehensive to advance to normal level of activity w it but will continue to push it (per dr reccommendation). Im about 6 weeks from onset of atraumatic subluxation whch originated w freestyle swimming.

    FYI my sport is triathlon. Also I am a firefighter/EMT. Enjoy all outdoor pursuits – very active lifestyle. I am concerned about how I will be limited by the injury long term.

    Thank you


    • I suppose it depends on how much displacement of the clavicle there is. Full posterior dislocations worry orthopaedic surgeons due to a risk of injuring the nearby airway or large blood vessels.

      • If it’s all torn loose at sternum like mine is; why do they all continue playing games with me instead of being honest. One simple scan of the torn ligaments would end all this. I’ll let them just remove the collarbone since it’s all detached from sternum anyway. (Sqishing muscles and veins all the time on a 24/7 scale!$!$!) Six months of games;not one thing has helped and still all of them so called Orthapedic Surgeons won’t scan the ligaments of sternum.

  10. I am a 44 year old male. Healthy except for my recent posterior dislocation of my right clavicle. When they did surgery to put the clavicle back in place they realized that i had also broken the end off the clavicle. They ended up removing about 1/2 inch of my clavicle. They could not reattach it. I am just trying to find someone that would have some experience with this injury so that i know i am making the right decisions going forward I live near Green Bay Wisconsin but am willing to travel where need be Would you have any suggestions or recomendations

    Thanks for your help in advance

    • You might try the AOSSM website and use its Find a Doctor tool to find a sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon in your area who might be able to help.

    • Hi Dan, I too have the same injury, with extreme pain, in chest, shrtness of breath, and I can not move my arm to much or I get a poking sensation in my throat. I was wondering what ortho helped you? I live in Green Bay, and no doctors or orthos will help me. They say nothing can be done. My email is thank you.

      • To both Dan and Amy!
        It seems like we are in the same position. Posterior sc dislocations and no one can help. Or will not even attempt to.. I’m sharing my email so hopefully we can get in touch?!

        Sorry dr geier for “hijacking” your page/thread, but it is hard to find others with this problem…

      • It seems there are not many people experienced in posterior dislocation. I’ve been looking for someone to understand my problem for two years. I’m going to try the hospital next. So so frustrating and I feel very alone.

        • All 3 hospitals and Orthapedics haven’t done anything for me
          The platysma muscle is situated on the anterior aspect of the neck. It has two heads, which originate from the fascia of the pectoralis major and deltoid. Fibres from the two heads cross the clavicle, and meet in the midline, fusing with the muscles of the face. Motor innervation to the platysma is via the cervical branch of the facial nerve.

          Me neither. Not even when it was up my throat at fist I’n E.R.!

          6 months now of wanting it taken care of and fighting to keep it in place. Suffering keeping it in place,neck bloating,heart,rate blood pressure,and light headedness. (I feel they just want to let me die as long as they collect. (They will not Even do a MRI with dye to show all ligaments torn. (refusal of proof and want to try everything else

  11. Hello. Just over 4 months ago on the 2nd of may I injured my SCJ playing rugby. My right shoulder was pressed hard into the ground and there was a large cracking noise. I assume ligaments. Immediately after I seemed medical help at A&E and then various trips to doctors for help. Despite my complaints of pain and a clear asymmetry with the clavice no action was taken. I am now seeing an osteopath who recognised immediately the SCJ was dislocated anteriorly. I’ve had therapy for about a month and a half but there is still pain and asymmetry. Will having the bone pushed back into the place be a solution and will it allow me to continue playing cricket rowing and rugby. All sports that require free and painless motion in my shoulder. My osteopaths treatment at the moment seems to be pain management rather than seeking a solution.

    • Typically pushing the clavicle back into place doesn’t work. Either it won’t go, or it won’t stay. Usually the only lingering finding after a patient does PT to regain motion and strength is the visual cosmetic difference.

      • Sounds posterior.I have the same symptoms as you have, I am so sorry for anyone going through this because no one seems to understand.I feel they think I am making it all up.

        • Same with me even though it’s been up my throat and had to call paramedics! (All doctors, orthapedics,chiropractors,physical therapists refuse to help and say to go to one or the other with collarbone all afloat pinching sternoclavicular muscles and constantly poppig at sternum.)

          • I am sorry to read of so many with my injury. I have had this since a bike accident at 11. My sturnam has started twisting and my ribs have become mobile. Who would of thought dislocating your clavicle could have so many side effects. When i drive i look to the right and sometimes the muscle is trapped by the clavicle making me litterally jump in my seat. The crushing sensation on my right side .it is a complete nightmare. After being told it was all in my head for 15yrs i was then told to never raise my right arm. Then 10yrs on after my sturnam started to twist they gave high doses of morphine. Then i saw a top sergeon who was retiring. He told me it needed to be stabalised and i would need to have an op. I went and the sergeon looked at the wrong shoulder and said it wasnt dislocated. He was right. Its my right clavicle thats dislocated not my left shoulder and i am back to square one. I honostly dont think i can live with this much longer. All of my adult life i have been hindered by this injury and the associated pain. I litterally cant stand it. I feel for everyone here and would take everyones pain and end it all if i could. Ive given myself 5yrs at 37yrs old to get this fixed. Im losing all hope right now though. Anyone who tells you this doesnt need stabalising doesnt understand the human sceleton. This is a wieght bearing joint and keeps an arch to your chest wall. Without it the arch slowly degrades. I havnt slept since a full night since the is a complete nightmare. Please do not exercise so soon after having this repaired.the risk of causing yourself more problems is too great imo.

          • Hello guys, I am a part of the select few who suffer from this misfortune. It has been a week since I had my Mountain Bike accident and dislocated my clavicle. I am not in as much physical pain as I once was;however, the constant burping and or feeling of something being caught in my throats sucks. I went to a TOP hospital in America(U…V….A) with the TOP orthopedics there(two were top five percent in America;)but received the same news from all of them. ‘we don’t think you should get the surgery. Its too close to your major arteries and your air passage.’ I am hoping that my shoulder gets back to full strength so I can continue to do what I love e.g., Fish, Hunt, and Box. I will go back in 4 weeks to see if my full range of mobility comes back. I pray that it does. To John, I also pray that you and everyone else that suffers from this heals. We all can overcome this, and we will!

    • I had injury for over 3 months seeing a sports medicine group. Complained of pain and very apparent swelling. X-rays did not show anything. MRI showed posterior sc joint sublexed. Then finally changed doctors and ct done with fracture noted also at end of joint. Surgery was done with a large graft, of which I had a reaction to in 6 months. The very best and knowledgeable doctor in this is Dr. Gordon Groh in Asheville, NC. Look him up.

  12. Hello, I wonder if you can help me to find some answers regarding my symptoms. I have dislocated my right clavicle last February. I can see my bone popping out so I assume it must be anterior dislocation, at the same time I have started to experience discomfort in my throat and my voice became crokey from time to time, I also have pain in my shoulder. I can feel discomfort only on the right side of my throat, also it seems to reach my neck as well. This discomfort comes and goes, some days I can’t feel any pain some days it feels very very uncomfortable. Can anterior dislocation affect vocal cords?, I have no problem with breathing. Thank you

      • I have the same symptoms 6 months post right anterior SCL dislocation. Just because it isn’t typical does not mean we should have to suffer the rest of our lives. I have not had one good night of sleep since my injury and I still can’t lay on my right shoulder and when I lay on my left shoulder it makes the symptoms even worse.

    • Hello, all problems started when I was pushed violently from the right side, instinctively I put my arm out and landed on my left hand. Soon after I felt the muscles on the left of my neck pull all the way up the side of my face. Other problems are pain in my chest,it is hard to breath and talk. Shoulder pain, shoulder has dropped,pain all the way down my arm into my hand. Cannot straighten my ring finger sometimes the whole hand. I cannot push or pull or lift with that hand. I can’t hold anything for more the a few seconds. I had burning pain in my neck for many months. I had to lay flat on my back in bed with no pillow,I still do over a year later.when I turn left or sit up in bed I am extremely dizzy. My neck is still very painful even with the shower water running on the back left side. When I lay down my esophregus tightens. Then when I sit up is eases a little.
      I’ve also lost the use of the muscle on the left down the side of my torso.when I lean forward or sit up I need to support myself using other muscles. I also have to hold my head up with tape or the muscles on the right. As my head wants to fall left. My collar bone has retracted back about a centimetre. I keep saying I cannot feel that side of my arm and torso. I think because its not attached to my sternum. It is also pushed in further then the other. I have felt very very unwell since the injury. I now have a lot of problems with my system. In my mouth there are very strange symptoms. I haven’t seen and orthopaedic surgeon yet. But I’ve been told I dislocated my first rib and collar bones. He tried to put them back. But I think he broke my rib and now I have bursitis and tendinitis. As he pulled on my arm in several directions. Without seeing what’s what. The MRI shows to me and my chiropractor there is broken ribs both sides. The first ribs at least. Broken c6,7,8 vertebrae in some way. And left clavicle is detached something near attachment lookers broken. I need conformation. Can I send pics to you. It also looks like bits broken on the throat and behind sternum. I no way am exaggerating. I have felt gravely unwell. I haven’t gone to the hospital because I’m afraid they won’t take me serious. It’s been a long time since the injury.
      I’ve been desperate to go so many times. My body is trying to tell me something’s up, but no one is taking me seriously.
      Thank you for all your time you give to help others. It’s so appreciated.

      • I have all these symptoms too and can’t function any longer. I get no help they just act like it its not as bad as it is. I would like to talk to you to see what you have and haven’t tried. I’m getting really tired of the medical community. please contact me.

      • Sorry Annie I haven’t been on this site since last till now.
        I am booked in to a shoulder specialist and I’m hoping desperately I will get some answers. I swear drs choose what they want to treat. They should help everyone.i think it’s keep looking for the right one and pray. I find it hard to hope I been disappointed to much. My shoulder just hangs and pulls on all the muscles. You can try pulling you hand across your chest and elbow trait out in front. It releases a lot of the muscles and trapped nerves between the first rib and collarbone. And if you have any creams like pain away, they help with the muscle pains. It’s so exhausting and I’m so over it. The only thing that helps is to think of all the people worse off than me. I wish you the very best and if I have anything that can help I will let you know. I will post it on here. How are you coping Annie.

        • I have the same thing. HAs anyone found a Dr who will repair an Anterior SC dislocation. Figure of 4 or any other procedures?

          Darrin Austin TX.

          • My son has a Anterior SC dislocation and a surgeon in Toronto at St. Michaels said he would do surgery and put a plate in to stabilize it into place. After it stabilizes they would remove the plate.

    • I have an anterior dislocated SCJ on my left side and i feel that exact same pain as you describe on the side of the neck.

  13. Hi my husband got smashed between two semi’s he broke his right side first rib and his collar bone sticks out on that side but ct scan is showing no dislocation do you think an mri would be helpful? Is it possible the bone will go back since it is showing it is in place? Thanks!

  14. Every time I lift my left arm my left collar bone pops out, and I can push my left collar bone up and down when I apply pressure to it. What does that mean?

  15. Hello,

    I am a 23 yr old male who was diagnosed with an anterior subluxation and fracture of the SC joint from wrestling in late August of this year. I was in extreme pain for about 2 weeks and have been gradually returning to activity. I am a lacrosse player and weight trainer and have residual deformity, discomfort and cracking, i can also feel the clavicle as out of place. My doctor prescribed nothing but PT, I am wondering if it will ever return to 100% with only physical therapy, and if there is anything i can do besides that to increase my recovery.

    Thank you,


    • I have a similar problem and worry. I play golf and this requires quite some shoulder movements. Doc says I should be able to play again after healing which I assume should be he same for you

  16. I’m 13, taking hot yoga classes. But i’ve never gotten hurt fron it.
    It looks like I dislocated something on my right side right below those two neck muscles. Something was poking out oddly, it was small and and was clearly not like the left side. I don’t think it was ever like that before, nothing hurts. There are no unusual marks. It feels very off if I press on it, and I pushed it back so it wasn’t sticking out like it was? I do have a habit of popping that shoulder somehow and I’m pretty sure its related. I cant find the bone thing on the other side and I don’t know if I should be worried.

    Somethig like anterior dislocation of the sternoclavicular joint, but then that seems unlikely

    • Hi im 14 and i play netball 4 times a week. Yesterday i noticed my left collarbone was sticking out, we went to the doctors and they took an xray and said come back in 2 weeks for results. But i get real discomfort from it, is it wise to go to A&E to see if they can process it faster and 2 weeks will that effect it?

  17. Hey dr,
    I dislocated my collar bone 3 weeks ago and my dr said to rest it until it stopped popping out when I raise my arm. He said it should be about a week or 2 but it is still popping out. How long do you think it should take to heal? As I am getting ansy to get back to practice.

  18. I have had a anterior separated scjoint for 2 years now.
    It continuously pops/clicks etc and I find that id very
    painful still.
    It as if the joint never scared up and continuously stays unstable.
    It is painful, but worse, is the pain/tightness that it presents to my neck region and especially the scalenes.
    It as if I suffer Thoracic outlet type symptoms.
    I know most anterior dislocation do not require surgery, and out comes for most are good, but that is not my case.
    If anything, the movement in the joint is greater and greater.
    Very painful, and worse, very hard to find a surgeon who can help.
    Mostly due to the unpredictable outcome from these type of surgeries, and low percentage of success (compared to other orthopedic surgeries).
    My question is:
    Are there any new techniques out there, or on the horizon that may result in better outcomes (percentage wise)
    I am one of the few, who is really struggling with pain from this
    injury, although range of motion is good, it’s almost a curse, as it causes my joint to move all day long.
    It seems as if the technique where they remove the end of the clavicle, and than reattach it to the 1st rib, is the only technique available, and is the one with unknown outcomes for the patient.
    I am in Canada, but am hoping to find out if there is another new technique.
    Any info would greatly appreciated.

  19. Ive been in pain for over a year and now just finally my physiotherapist is talking about collar bone or rib dislocation. Would love your quick opinion. Pain when pressure is applied to the spot circled in the picture above, raised slightly more than my left side. When my arms are outstretched I cannot raise it higher than my shoulder. Pain in should when laying down and my shoulder “falls” up towards my head when I lay on my side (extremely painful). 30 year old female, no injury that I recall.

    • I am 52 years old an also have SC dislocation with no known injury. How is this possible? Could muscle spasms from stress alone cause it? Are there diseases that affect the joints that could be a possible cause? I have had recurrent joint and tendon inflammation the past several years.

  20. I’m 20 years old and injured myself in the most simple way, I fell and to avoid falling straight back I stretched my arm out to catch my fall. The next morning I had pain between my clavicle and breastbone and it has been almost a week and my pain has not subsided. The area between my breast bone and clavicle is swollen and has a bump however I still can use my arm. I am just extremely uncomfortable moving around freely. I am almost positive I have Anterior Sternoclavicular dislocation. Will I recover on my own or do I need to see a doctor? Do you think I need surgery?

  21. Posterior SC dislocation with open surgery – what is the recovery time for an elite athletics?

    My 15 year old daughter made dips within her track and field training programme when something went wrong. In hospital she was diagnosed with posterior SC dislocation. Surgery was done within 6 hours. Closed treatment failed so that open surgery was performed and PDS was used for stabilization. Her shoulder was kept in one place for 6 weeks. The newest CT (6 weeks after the surgery) shows that everything is as it should be. Now my daughter wonders when she is able to continue with long and triple jump. The nationals in track and field are in the beginning of March and qualifications are now. Will she be able to participate? Reading the literature there is very little written on it and the doctor has unfortunately also no experience with elite athletics. Does anyone know?

  22. This same injury actually happened to me. It was a hockey incident and I had to get emergency surgery put my collarbone back in its correct position. So far it’s been three months and I have pretty good movement. I have not been able to skate yet. My doctor has done a great job of letting me know where I am in my recovery process but he has told me my recovery will be about a month or two longer. Just wanted to share my story!!

  23. Last week, I was crushed by a car that I was working on when supports failed. I was laying on my right side when the car fell. I managed to move to my back and slide out and call for help. At the ER, the xrays showed no broken bones, but no one mentioned a SCJ injury. My right side clearly protrudes out more than the left. It feels like I have something in my throat at times. I’m functional, but have reduced use of my right arm and shoulder. I’m still on pain meds and icing the area. Certain movements give me acute pain. While it “looks” like I have an anterior dislocation, because my shoulders were crushed towards each other toward my chest, it would reason that I have a posterior dislocation; which would makes sense with the feeling like I have something in my throat. All of the comments above have been extremely helpful. If anyone would like to share treatments that they have received or surgeries that they have had done or doctors that they have seen, please email me at I’m going to see if I can see my orthopedic surgeon who did surgery on my right shoulder 10 yrs ago and recently did surgery on a medial meniscus tear on my left knee. Both surgeries were a huge success. I’m confident he can help or at least steer me in the right direction. I will post back with any helpful information.

    • My son has a sternoclavicular fracture and dislo stion pushed inward and this. Nit ion is very rare. I live in an area with top doctors luckily. Them trauma surgeon operated and retired by placing a plate in this chest connecting the sternum and clavicle. There is a surgical repair however since it is rare and many orthopedic surgeons don’ t know what to do. My sons problem was only seen when a CTt scan was performed. It was NOT seen on xrays. Try a a major metropolitan hospital. Good luck.

  24. About 10 years ago I sprained (for want of a better word) my SC, it looked partially dislocated and hurt a lot, with some therapy it healed to some degree. I have not really been particluarly active, i gave up baseball due to this injury and probably did not get the treatment I should have to return to full functionality.

    The SC joint now has a strong clicking sound that has returned. It is present when my shoulder is relaxed and low and I either pull my shoulders back or push them forward, if i shrug my shoulders and do the same forward back motion it does not click. It feels like something is moving, potentially flicking back and forth but it’s hard to tell if it’s subluxing or if something else is moving around. It feels stable when I pull on the collarbone.

    I am getting some inflammation with some pain on the joint but more pain radiating up the scalenes, on the trap, and at the very top of the pectoral close to the ACJ this has been present for 2 weeks now and is very uncomfortable.

    It started with me doing yoga and meditation. My suspicion is that years of poor posture have hidden this issue and now that my chest is opening up it is being uncovered.. unsure what to do.. I’m in India and although plenty of people promise cures for money, there are no physios around and dont trust anyone 🙁

  25. Dr. Geier,

    I have an anterior dislocation and I live a highly active lifestyle. I am wondering what the long term affects of the injury are and will I be able to fully participate in my previous activities. (Water skiing, snow skiing, basketball, footbal, climbing Etc.)

    Thank you.

  26. I have been dealing with an anterior dislocation of SCJ for 3 months now. It has popped back out 12 times now in a 3 month time frame. It is very painful and makes me have little use of right arm when it happens. It causes pain all the way under right arm into upper back, it has affected muscles in my neck when I turn my head causing bad neck pain. When it happens I can only lay flat on my back for sleeping. I finally found a Dr who is going to perform a stabilization surgery on me. I used a sling and rested , I went through physical therapy with no luck or stability that lasted. Consevative treatment has not helped. Mine was caused by a blunt hit to my upper chest where I was knocked backward. I sypathise with anyone that is dealing with this. It is frustrating and painful. My hope is surgery will help me return to work and eventually playing my passion which is golf.

  27. I lift weights and I broke my left clavicle about 8 years ago. It started with pain in my collarbone after doing dips. After some months of this the bone snapped when I was warming up on the bench press. Upon initial x-ray the nurse seemed to think that I had broken the collarbone on a previous ocassion.

    Since then I have a clicking sound coming from the end of the collarbone in the middle of my chest. It feels like the bone is moving up and down (over the sternum?). I avoid certain exercises such as incline press as a result of this but I am able to go heavy again on the flat bench.

    However, a few days ago, I trained with a different partner and we were doing a variation of bent over rowing (a back exercise) by lifting a barbell bar (with plates at one end) between the legs. I do not normally do this exercise and I immediately felt discomfort and had to stop. I am now suffering from intermittent pain and discomfort at both ends of the collarbone. I have full mobility in the joint and I am largely pain free but certain movements are causing pain (for example putting on my shoes using my left hand).

    As I am currently overseas (as I was when I initially broke the bone) I am not always able to find healthcare. Please could you advise as to what the condition could be?

  28. I am 14 years old and had a posterior SC joint dislocation 10 weeks ago. The dislocation happened during a wrestling tournament. The CT scans indicate that I have a slight posterior dislocation. Two doctors recommended leaving it alone to heal. I now sometimes feel a popping sensation (with zero pain) when I stretch my arms. I love wrestling and do not want to give it up. Is there a high risk that I could re-injure my dislocation resulting in worse or more chronic issues that could keep me from playing baseball (the other sport I love)? I am cleared by the doctor to do both sports, but don’t want to jepordize my long-term health if I am now in a much higher risk of re-injury. Thanks in advance for any advice based on your experience.

    • zI don’t think there is much research that gives us an answer. I suppose it is possible for a posterior SC dislocation to recur, but I don’t know the chances.

    • Sir,my name Er.vishal srivastava belong ballia and my accident 3April morning time my age 26 but sir my head injury and sternoclavicular anterior dislocation please provide me suggestions…. Sir my chack up under BHU(TRAMA CENTRE) sir head injury is fine but sternoclavicular to clavicle dislocation anterior joint position please give me suggestions

  29. Doc a couple of questions that I hope you can help with. I recently was hit in hockey and incurred a anterior dislocation:
    1. How would you know what grade dislocation you have?
    2. What is the general recovery time for this type of injury?
    3. What are success rates of getting physio (my doc is like most here just saying let it heal)

    Thanks very much in advance

  30. Hi,
    My 14 year old sons clavicle is sticking out and he can move it and it looks as though it ‘pops’ back in till he stands straight. He hasn’t had any injuries that we can think of and it is causing him some pain, we noticed this about a month ago but because he is quite skinny I assumed it was just typical of the bones.
    I have booked an appointment with his doctor but that isn’t for two weeks, does this sound typical of an injury to you? I wonder if it’s more of an emergency or to sit and wait for the docs appointment, thanks for your time

  31. Good news concerning training after posterior SC dislocation with open surgery

    And here is the answer to the question we asked on January 24, 2016: it is possible to join the national championships in track and field 13 weeks after the open surgery. And the results are not bad at all – bronze medal in the category 15 year old girls in triple jump with 11.42 m. It seems that almost everything (except of lifting really heavy weights) is possible 13 weeks after the surgery and arm movements seem to work out fine.

    • Hello, May I ask what doctor you went to? I am a boxer who is suffering from an anterior dislocation. I haven’t been able to box because of the injury and want to get back in the gym.

  32. hi i have something that i dont know on my collarbone. its like a sharo thing on it like an excess bone that is sharp not like my left collarbone. i dont know what it is and im confused. when i touch it hard it hurts. i dont know what it is. help me. im 12 years old

  33. I have never injured my clavicle in any way but both of them pop in and out of place. There is no pain when it happens, but I don’t understand what causes it. I do have bursitis in my left shoulder, that happened when I was a freshman in high school 9 years ago while on the swim team. Could that be the cause of the popping? I still have major pain in my left shoulder when I swim or over use my shoulder.

  34. HI
    Dr Geier

    i had a car accident 1 week ago and my collar bone looks its pops out. i think its an Anterior scj dislocation.. I go to the doctor and he says Wear a sling it will help u pop your bone back into its position and he says u dont need any medication or treatment…
    can u help me how i can make my bone back into its position coz i wana live a happy life again :'( please help me…..

  35. I had an anterior SC dislocation, it is slightly elevated as expected. Is the curve in thebone normal?. And how can i straighten it if possible. It is at risk of preventing me from trying to become a US Navy SEAL. Please help

  36. hello doctor,
    I am a 19 year old boy and I was just playing with my computer like what I usually do and then last week ive experienced pain on my right collar bone like for some time it would suddenly hurt like my bone was pinched and then it would go away and it continued for about a week but then this morning I was just sitting on a chair then I stretched my arms outward then I heard a clicking sound then I felt my right collar bone next to my sternum started to hurt and instantly I had trouble breathing. itis painful but tolerable then when I looked in the mirror the bump in my right collar bone next to my sternum dissapeared and at the left it was normal only one big joint but when I look at the other it has two tiny bumps one at the top of the other. I cant go to the doctors till monday and I really need to know what is going on and what I should and shouldnt do. it still hurts

  37. If I’m laying down and I move my shoudler or throwing a ball hard my right clavicle where it meets the sternum pops out then back in. It makes a loud noise but I experience no pain. Is it serious and will it heal itself. My left does not do the same thing.

  38. I was in a motorcycle racing crash a few days ago where I high sided off the bike and landed on my head / left shoulder. Was diagnosised with a concussion and posterior SC dislocation with a slight fracture at the end on the clavicle. After reviewing my films with multiple orthopedic surgeons and cardiovascular surgeons, it seems the best course of action was to leave it as is and not perform an open surgery to reduce it back into place. Couple of questions:

    1) is it common to leave a SC dislocation dislocated?
    2) can it heal, and have the same strength and mobility in a dislocated position?


  39. My Chiro who specialises in the neck only has taking images and found I have a first cervicle vertabrae with multi fractures all healed but one. It’s fallen down on the left and rotated. The second has fractured and fallen on the third. The third is fractured and rotated. The others all have fractures. The last fall on my outstretched arm has caused muscle spasms pulling my 5th and 6th backwards. Extremely painful. 8 mths I lay flat on my back too sleep. Still difficult to get comfortable. I use a beanie pillow that moulds. I have jaw injury from child hood. I’ve had several neck injuries at least. The 1st and 2nd vertabrae are pushing on my esophagus. It’s difficult to swallow food and I think the spasms are making me unable to swallow on the left side. This and my shoulder injury all started when I fell. I also have had fractures at C7 and T1 on the right now I have damage on the left plus some. My question is: is this ( i mean the 1st 2nd and 3rd cervicle vertabrae dangerous to live with till I can find the right help and who do I see Otho or Neuro surgeon do you feel.
    These symptoms have changed who I was big time. I can’t help others now because I struggle myself. And I live to help others. I would like answers at least. Thank you for whatever help you can give.

  40. I think I have an grade 2 anterior sc dislocation after a bike accident,there was swelling & bruising after with pain apon touch.two weeks after it feels better~feels stable but i still have a bump{where the clavicle meets the sternum}do you think I should of had an operation? Would this have reduced the bump?Just annoying that the bump will always be there

  41. I think I have an grade 2 anterior sc dislocation after a bike accident,there was swelling & bruising after with pain apon touch.two weeks after it feels better~feels stable but i still have a bump{where the clavicle meets the sternum}do you think I should of had an operation? Would this have reduced the bump?Just annoying that the bump will always be there.your advice appreciated

  42. I am a US Marine and during a Martian Arts session I fell to the ground and another Marine landed on my chest with his full body weight. For 2-3 weeks my collard bones hurt incredibly and faded over time. Now (3) months later I have a bump on the center of my chest closer to right collar bone which feels like muscle/tissue and daily specially in the morning I wake up with discomfort until it gets warmed up. I feel like I lost strength on that right arm all together. Can you assist me please?

  43. My son has an anterior dislocation. It very obviously pops in and out, however he experiences no pain. The obvious idea is to leave well alone with respect to surgery, however I am told that he may develop arthritis if this is not repaired?

  44. My husband was injured during a football game, He was flown to a larger hospital, as we are in the county, for surgery as the SC joint was diclocated posterior. He had recovered well and now has full range of motion with little to no pain. The football club and his orthopaedic doctor both agree he is not ready to return to football even though he is very fit and feels he is ready. My question is, is there something else we are waiting for to heal? He feels 100%

  45. Hi doctor.I’m wrestler.I’m from iran
    My Sternoclavicular joint dislocation and suffering from chronic dislocation . Do it now has a cure ? I ‘m worried Hstm.ya sport can return to sports ? Plz answer this.
    Thank you

  46. I have a anterior sc dislocation that is more upward than outward. I guess this is rare because the doctors don’t know what to do. I can send CT data.

  47. Hello I believe my dislocation happened in my youth. I was alway able to pop it in and out by simply rotating my arm. 25 years later I’m doing the samething. Only difference now is that I’m noticing that my right pec is much smaller than my left and when I weight train (bench press) the dislocated side is of course weaker and kind of pops out on its own. I’m heading to my chiropractor this afternoon to see what can be done. Do you think with the amount of time that has passed I will be able to have this reset or is surgery inevitable?

  48. Hi there, I am a 31 year old female, have an anterior subluxation of my right SC joint. reoccurring for 16 months. Experience sharp pain with any overhead lifting/pushing/pulling, sleeping, dressing, doing hair, etc – as well as a “pop” sensation if I roll my shoulder back to proper posture. Currently undergoing monthly injections that are supposed to initiate tissue/ligament growth (don’t recall what the procedure is called – similar to Prolotherapy) Have been referred to see a surgeon, but have been told that the surgery is very complicated with a low success rate.

    If these injections do not work at tightening up the joint, and surgery is not an option, I’m wondering if I have any other options? I am a competitive boxer, and work a physically demanding job (currently on modified duties) and would like to get some hope that I can get back to my normal life. Or perhaps other places I could look for surgeons who have had success with this procedure? Anything will help, thank you!

  49. I dislocated my collarbone about 6 months ago. I went about 3 months not knowing it was dislocated. I saw a doctor and got an x-ray after about 2 months and I was told that my x-ray came back normal. I went in for a physical about 1 month later and was told that my collarbone could just need to be adjusted because of a kink that was in the joint. When I went to the chiropractor for adjustments they took a full chest x-ray and found a noticeable dislocation. I had 5 adjustments and was told that it was back in place. However, that was nearly 2 months ago and I am still experiencing swelling, tenderness, stiffness, pain, and my whole shoulder is noticeably dropping lower than the other. Any ideas about what should be done?

  50. I am 57 years old. The injury to the right SC happened when I was 15 and has remained out since then. I now have multiple problems with my right arm, ulnar nerve relocation surgery, extreme shoulder pain and very limited use of my right hand. Would the long term damage to the SC be a factor with these problems? Is it possible to have corrective surgery on the SC now? I am Cherokee and have healthcare through IHS but am not receiving the care for these problems that I need as I am in pain from my neck to my fingertips. Thank you for any information you can provide.

  51. My dtr has connective tissue disorder which causes shoulders & clavicles to fall out. Last night she was having trouble breathing. She had to talk in whisper tones. Thought it was the sternum needing to popped out but now after reading I am wondering is this a posterior SC joint subluxation/dislocation. Or is it really the sternum sinking in and would that cause breathing problems, too?
    Confused and don’t know what to do or what to think. Any ideas?
    Thank you.

  52. I believe I may have suffered this injury roughly 5 years ago back when I played high school football. I can feel my left clavicle protruding further than my right, and I have had chronic pain in that regions musculature ever since. I never got it checked out at the time, but is it too late to address it this long after the injury?

  53. Hi there, I have been practicing yoga for 4 years, and a year and a half ago things in my body changed.
    For the longest time I have been trying to figure out what has been causing me so much pain for a year and a half. I had a lot of trouble localizing an injury because my upper back, neck, collar bone, sternum, and shoulder all feel the effects of the injury, and I don’t remember one specific event that could have hurt it. I started out at a chiropractor and got some xrays on my back and neck. Bad idea, because he had me convinced it was my spine twisting and straight neck. So I kept going back because of course they tell you that you will be healed in a number of visits. With my pain not getting any better, I went to a spine surgeon and he did some xrays. He said there was no significant bend in my spine and I looked fine. So then I started to think I was crazy because how could I be feeling so much pain in my front and back neck with nothing wrong. Something is wrong, though, and doesn’t ever feel like it was before. So, I went to a different chiropractor, because if the Surgeon couldn’t help who could? This new chiropractor physically manipulated my neck and back. I hadn’t had this at the other chiro. I went back quite a bit but did not feel myself getting any better. Could definitely pop my neck more though. I saw a physical therapist who visited my yoga certification training and he told me I had frozen shoulder. So when I got back home I went to a physical therapist and told him that’s what I had. He laughed because I could move my arm up and around, so he said that’s not what I have. I went to a different therapist who does dry needling and got it done in my shoulder muscles. Still though, there is much pain in my petruding collar bone. It is at least a few centimeters higher than the other and it pokes out. It makes the sternoclavicer muscle sore and throb. The middle of my sternum also misalignes sometimes and I have to do some crazy positions to try and crack it back into place. My shoulder feels like it’s hanging there and when I bend my elbow and move it up and down (wing like motion) my shoulder cracks over and over. Is there anything in my comment that sounds familiar to you or could you give me some guidance on what I should do next? I’m tired of spending so much money on medical bills and not getting anywhere. Thank you so much.

  54. I dislocated my collarbone when i was in 6th grade i think i was 12 yrs old then now im 21 and haven’t consult a doctor or even xray now im suffering pain when its cold and difficulty breathing ,my arms bones are popping in my every single move and lamp in my throat which i considered a thyroid problem i read someone comment that has a lamp in throat is this also link in collarbone problem? is this really serious?i am so depressed about this. Hope you answer me. sorry for my english

  55. I have been diagnosed with Chronic SC dislocation. My last Sports Orthopedic Surgical Dr. told me that “I will never work again, file for disability and there is a 50/50 chance I would die on the operating table”. Reason being,he said, was “because the are alot of very small arteries and nerves right were they would need to work that if they clipped one by mistake they wouldnt be able to repair it”. In further detail,he also said, “the sternum is cracked and fractured where the bone needs to go so if they tried to screw or pin it in place it would never hold”.
    Further more I saw the Cardiovascular Thurasic Surgeon at my VA. He looked for a Surgeon for a month and a half and didnt find any sergeon that would do the operation.
    Ive been told I will have this injury for the rest of my life. Could I die from it in any way? How impaired will I be in the future with arthritis in my upper body?
    I have chest, neck and shoulder arthritis as it has been 2 years since the injury. Also severe pain in arms and muscle convulsions and muscle swelling in most of my upper body.

  56. hi, im my clavicle bone is popping in and out when ever i move my shoulders is there any treatment to it? its really annoying and i cant ply much sports

  57. Hi. Is it possible to fix a dislocated collarbone from the sternum without surgery? I had a crash with my dirtbike at about 80kph l landed on my back. I do have an anterior break. I can see my collarbone have slightly twisted and my right shoulder is shorter than the left.

  58. Hi my name is Jasmin, last year my boyfriend had accident while playing soccer, he did a bicycle kick, went up in air and came down and landed wrong on the ground. He broke his collarbone. Left side. It now just pops out, though not a lot.. he hasn’t been back to to the doctor ever since he’s left the hospital. I keep suggesting for him to go but all he thinks they’re going to say is that he’ll need surgery. And he doesn’t want surgery. I’m just wondering if there’s any other way that that this collarbone will heal..

  59. My son had an anterior dislocation. The doctor popped it back into place and he was feeling better after a week in a sling. He tried out for the basketball team and had it dislocate again. Is this something that could be a recuring event or could there be something else damaged causing it to dislocate?

    • Those injuries – anterior SC dislocations – are difficult to get the clavicle to stay in place. Fortunately they rarely cause problems long term.

  60. Hello Dr.

    I have an anterior dislocated left collarbone. I’ve had 10 PT sessions, along with home exercises to loosen up my trapezoid and scalene muscles. Each time the PT pushes the collarbone back into the joint, with success. However, as soon as I sit or stand up, it pops out again. Pushing the bone into place is a painful process and disappointing that as soon as it’s put back in, it pops out immediately. Interesting, I noticed early on, and the PT have noticed the last several times, that as the PT session progresses my voice gets very scratchy and sometimes I lose it altogether. They have mentioned it’s very close to my vocal chords and the therapy could be irritating them. My voice typically recovers within 24 hours of therapy.

    After ten sessions of no progress, should I continue to go through more PT or is there another course I should be seeking?

  61. hi, my left collarbone is popping out whenever I lift my arm over the head. But it pops in back when I take the arm down. I had no accident or injury and no pain so far. I was at two doctors and they both never seen this before and only said “rest for a couple of weeks and it will heal”. But after 3 Months I still have this problem. Should I be worried? Because I heard that the cartilage can wear down. (I hope this is correct english). And then I can have problems long term. Do you have any advise for me? I really want to go back to the gym, but currently I am too worried to damage my sternoclavicular even more.
    Thank you for your help.

  62. My son was injured playing in Minneapolis in the NAPHL AAA hockey season last October. He sustained a broken and dislocated SC joint. The hospital in Minneapolis said to return to Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada that he required surgery. Upon our arrival to the hospital in Thunder Bay the Orthopaedic surgeon did not feel he needed to see my son and sent in his resident. The resident said he had never seen anything like this before and choose to book him into the OR in the morning.
    We returned back to the hospital in the morning and the next orthopeadic surgeon decided to take us off the doc for surgery without even seeing my son and sent his resident down to give him 15mg of morphine every 4 hours. I questioned the morphing dosing and the resident said she does this all the time and when the pharmacist told me he could not give my 15 year old son. Since I work in the medical field I pushed to see someone and final after 1 week I returned to the fracture clinic to see the ortho surgeon and he apologized for not seeing me that morning in the OR as he could have fixed his collorbone with a small plate. My son today is still playing hockey but in the summer working out he experienced some pain to the SC joint and asked me to get it put back.
    Our paediatrician had sent a referral to Toronto and is now being followed . He has agreed to plate the collarbone back into place after this hockey season but my son is scared he is going to die. He is scared that the plate may never come out and he is scared that the joint may be weak and he will never play hockey at this level again. If I could send a picture I would as the X-ray does not show the whole injury. His collarbone sticks out of his chest, even in Toronto the Ortho surgeon brought 4 residents in to see the injury as it is very rare. I am just wondering is it better to leave this joints alone or is the surgery the better option. What would be other options I as a parent am worried. We live very far from Toronto so it is not easy to just make an appointment to chat with the surgeon. Can you offer any advice for my son? Is the surgery safe would he be able to play hockey.

  63. Hi, so when I was really young I broke my collarbone. Then about 4 years ago I was playing hockey and a puck directly hit my collarbone (the sternoclavicular joint) The joint always stuck out of place. Two years after that injury I was playing hockey and I broke my collarbone in the same place. It was just a hairline fracture, the doctor told me only 4 weeks for recovery. He also said that there was a dislocation in my collarbone. 4 weeks later I returned and immediately broke my collarbone playing hockey once again. This time I saw a specialist and told me that I was out of hockey for almost a year. After visiting a physiotherapist she asked me if I ever considered surgery, but I said that surgery was never recommend by my doctor. I always have felt pains in my collarbone throughout the years. About a week ago I was taking pictures for my high school basketball team, when I felt a sudden discomfort in my collarbone. I felt my collarbone and in the sternoclavicular joint was out of place. By placing my arm to my opposite shoulder my collarbone would come back into place. My collarbone will randomly slide in and out of place. When I’m driving my collarbone will go out of place, whenever i rest my arm it will slide out of place. I went to emergency and the doctor told me that my ligaments were torn and that they no longer could support my collarbone he said that I would need surgery. The emergency doctor looked at my Xray and said that there was a dislocation in my collarbone. When I went to the specialist he basically said “your double jointed, you always will have to deal with this problem.” Thank you for your help, let me know your thoughts!

  64. my name is otis im 16 i was in a wreck on april 25 2015 and my collar bone popped outta place the docters says they cnt put it back into place cause it too close to my heart im wanna kno if its a way i could get it back into place please text me @ 6015751537

  65. My wife has an anterior dislocation of her collarbone. The collarbone continues to protrude further out with time, and is extremely painful. My question is can you provide me with the name of a doctor, or doctors, in our area that will do surgery of this type. We live in eastern PA and can travel to NJ, DE, and MD, and possibly further, if needed. We have been to several surgeons in our area with no luck. Thank you in advance for any help.

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