All Journal Entries Journals
Previous | Next

My Surgery... Sternoclavicular Joint Repair 3/14/07

Sep 14, 2007 - 57 comments

When I was 14ish, my collarbone dislocated at the Sternoclavicular joint... where your collarbone and breast bone meet. Ever since then, my SC joint would dislocate constantly throughout the day (pretty much with any arm movement... 15-20 times a day?) The doctor I saw at the time said it would heal in a year... that it was common in young girls since bones aren't fully matured at that age. My doctor said he didn't recommend surgery since I was so young.

When I was 16 or so, I went back to the doctor since it didn't heal. The doctor said that it was odd that it didn't heal but again, didn't recommend surgery.

When I was 18, I got my collarbone checked out again to make sure I was ok to join the Army. Everything was fine. Again, he said he wouldn't recommend surgery since it is a pretty intricate surgery....Doc said to come back if I had any pain.

When I was 19, after basic training and AIT, I started having a lot of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. I went to the doctor again... turns out the pain was coming from my collarbone- everytime it dislocated, it was irritating my muscles and nerves. I found an amazing heart surgeon that was willing to do my surgery- no if's and's or but's about it!

When he first cut me open, the doc found the muscle just floating around (The muscle that held my joint together. He drilled a hole in my collarbone...took one of my neck muscles and wrapped it around my collarbone and rib to hold it in place, to make my SC joint a stable joint.

The surgery went well- as in it IS a stable joint.... ALTHOUGH I am having some complications. I have to go back to the doctor to get some xrays and mri's done... I have some clicking in my SC joint. My physical therapist thinks that it could be my bones rubbing together... either over the years of constant dislocation or the doc cut my bone too sharp- sounds like the disk between my two bones have deteriorated.

Overall, I wish I didn't have the surgery. I still have neck pain... sometimes worse than before since I have my thin neck muscle holding my joint together which is painful sometimes. Yes, it is a stable joint but I still have pain and just a big scar.

Post a Comment
214105 tn?1265938759
by jdesouza, Sep 15, 2007
Thanks for sharing your story. I tore my medial meniscus (cartlidge in the knee) and have been struggling with whether to have surgery or not. I really appreciate how hard it must have been to make the decision to have surgery. My knee gets really sore and stiff from just walking and having children it makes it difficult to play with them. Do you wish you didn't have surgery because it didn't really help or because it is  worse now?
Hope you feel better.

192055 tn?1263559137
by shannonwooten, Sep 26, 2007
Thank you for your comment! You asked "Do you wish you didn't have surgery because it didn't really help or because it is  worse now? "

Sort of both.

I did technically help since my joint is stable (That was the point of the surgery) but that was according to the doctor. To me, I guess it didn't help in my personal opinion... the reason why I wanted to do the surgery is so yes it became a stable joint... but only to relieve the pain... which it didn't help in the department.

It's not really worse... surgery wise things are great.... the pain is worse though.

I don't know though... with knee surgery, I would think it's different. There haven't been many surgeries like the one I had since there isn't much a doctor can do.

I don't know what to tell you about your knee surgery... do what your heart tells you, like I did. It hurt before surgery... it hurts after surgery... I didn't have anything to lose. I took a chance. I am thankful that my collarbone is stable- I am a step ahead... and I am doing phys therapy to work on the pain.

Whatever you choose, good luck, I will be thinking of you.

Avatar universal
by andy337, Sep 11, 2008
Hi Shannon
                  I also have a dislocated sternoclvicle joint. I am pushing for surgery did you no there is  new technique of surgery these days to fix it? I have had this pain for 3 years now and it is ruining my life so i hope you get better soon. ;p

192055 tn?1263559137
by shannonwooten, Sep 29, 2008
New technique, huh?? You have to share!
Good luck with the push, I know how fusturating it can be! Hope you get better as well, thank you.

612551 tn?1450025775
by Jerry_NJ, Sep 29, 2008
Sorry to read of the problems and at such a young isn't fair, some get more punishment for unknown reasons..roll of the dice?  

I post as I read on this forum to gain insight to heart problems, and I read shannon.. had surgery by a heart surgeon, why a heart surgeon.  Also, is there something here we can lean about heart problems?  This is not a complaint, just a suspicion every body but me a connection.

Best to all, I pray we are all better soon.

612551 tn?1450025775
by Jerry_NJ, Sep 29, 2008
oops, I think I've loged in on a different forum than I though.  Still learning the web site/blog.  

Avatar universal
by Sweetpeaz, Oct 06, 2009
I was also just diagnosed with sternoclavicular subluxation(Not fully dislocated...touching and rubbing against a small part of the sternum.  It became a problem in July of 2008. The dislocation is superior and anterior.  I was told that surgery should always be a last option and that sometimes the surgery makes the pain worse.My osteoarthritis is severe with no cartilege left.  I have had 2 shots of cortisone this year that have helped to reduce the inflammation and pain.  The first one having better results than this last one.  I was told that the surgery is risky because of all the arteries that run directly behind it.  Have any of you gone the route of acupuncture or TENS?  I am hoping to avoid the surgery.....but know the extreme pain will be starting up again. The clicking and movement drive me crazy.
Any input will be appreciated.

Avatar universal
by Leen18, Nov 06, 2009
After more than two years of tremendous pain, I too am undergoing surgery this month (Novermber).  I was told by 2 different surgeons and multiple chiropractors over the course of year 1 that surgery should be avoided due to a low success rate and risks associated with the locale of the injury.  By August of 2008 the pain was unbearable.  I was lucky enough to find an amazing chiropractor who was able to manually move the clavicle to a more comfortable position allowing for some pain relief but after a year of this chiropractor's treatment the clavicle is still unstable and the source of continued pain.  The surgery I am about to undergo sounds like the resection that DrMiller94 experienced.  The surgeon will shave off the end of the clavicle and weave new ligaments to stabilize the joint.  Although surgery is a scary proposition, I would be far more leary and skeptical of the prospects of a resection if it wasn't something I had already heard of through this website.  Thank you, Dr. Miller, for sharing your experience.  I wish you and anyone else going through this a full successful recovery.

Avatar universal
by mackienz, Dec 07, 2009
I also have an sc joint problem it has not been diagnosed as dislocated, but i have had a few serious shoulder injuries and my sc joint is quite obviously protruding superiorly and a little anteriorly.  i have had upper back and neck pain for about nine years and have finally got round to having a full back checkup(MRI X-ray).  the results showed i had degenerative disc disorder(DDD) lumber 1 and 2 as well as the raised clavicle.  the doctor then told me that my lower back DDD was the cause of my upper back and neck pain.  I have not found any information relating to lower back DDD and upper back pain  so was wondering if that is really possible, or that the doctor just didn't want to look at my sc joint abnormality and found an easy answer with my lower back DDD.  Any info would be greatly appreciated as i haven't had much help from the doctors i've seen

Avatar universal
by misslynn51291, Dec 10, 2009
I have an SC joint dislocation superiorly thank god the doctor i see said that if the clavicle went anteriorly that i could have hit my trachea and hit an artery. In september i had a orthopedic surgeon do a surgery on my shoulder and losen my muscles and tighten the joint to see if that would reduce the swelling in my SC joint but im still having a lot of pain. I went back to the same doctor and he said that i could do surgery on my SC joint but it is going to be a risky surgery just because of all the arteries that are right there. Because im only 18 he really doesnt want to do the surgery but he is going to anyway because i am in so much pain. I have grinding and it pops constantly. I have seen a physical medicine a rehabilitation doctor that really didnt do anything for me i have gone thru months of physical therapy which only made thing worse, and i have also been to a charopractor to see if he could help but nothing works. So im fowllowing my heart and doing the surgery im scared but i know that it needs to be dont and hopefully ill be free of pain.
i wish you all the best of luck and i hope that you all feel better. You have helped me even mor on making my decision

Avatar universal
by misslynn51291, Dec 10, 2009
I mean it went anteriorly not posteriorly

Avatar universal
by dancer74, Jan 17, 2010
My shoulder and sc joint pop out like everday. It hurts so bad but he doctors won't do anything, there at Chop! ( Children's hosipital in Philadelphia. THey say it's all to loose but pt does not work. It hurts all the time and interfering with my dancing. I can not get rid of the pain. Any advice?


Avatar universal
by PowerPlanner, Mar 04, 2010
I have had sternoclavicular instability for a few years based upon the clicking, then grinding and popping.  Only during this past year did the pain and swelling get beyond my ability to accept it.  4 Orthopedic surgeons have seen it or my chart and I finally have a great MD who has 4 current cases.  He compares this joint to the thumb.  There's a material that he is considering to slip into this joint which will be surrounded by scar tissue and can provide the same good result in my SCJ as in the thumb surgeries.  I am doing my share of research so that my MD can talk to the others who have performed this surgery which I want.  So if you can directed surgeons to me or my MD, please do so so I can get this fixed and enjoy 2010.  Thanks!!  Dan

Avatar universal
by memeho, Apr 30, 2010
my experience as a 16 year old is rather vast when it comes to breaking my colar bones. I have broken my right one twice but when it broke it broke in one spot and i broke my left colar bone  once but when it broke it broke in two spots and required surgery. well surgery fixed the bone  and after a while i continued to do everything i could do before but recently a little after the year of the incident. I am haveing some pains on my clavicle in or around the  scarred area and difinately the bone it self.  It hurts sometimes and it is causing me some discomfort. seeing as i required surgery at first because the break was so severe it seems like it is causing me pan now this is what it look like   - | -
                                                  a bone on each side with colar bone sticking straight up in the middle poking at the skin
       i think the source of my pain is either from my growth spurt or over use of the area considering i am a serious long distance runner and the way i hold it closer to me than i use to because of the break i have been keeping my left arm tucked in close to my body and  if thats not pain idk but it really makes me mad because it shouldnt start hurting a year after the break.       My Story, Anonymous!

Avatar universal
by memeho, Apr 30, 2010
basically life ***** because my disocmfort is just getting worse an worse

Avatar universal
by mleighd, Aug 02, 2010
I have had a severe sc dislocation since 1997. The only surgeon who would do anything, only removed a bone spur on the pertruding end. I realize It looks weird so I dont wear any necklaces or for that matter any shirt that doesnt cover it. The scar seems to accentuate the visibility. I have lost function of my arm because of the issues with the neck it has caused. I too have dealth with depression. I love how it's so easy for the docs to say hold your head high and be happy to be alive--after dying twice on the way to the hospital from the accident that caused it they thought that would be of comfort. I cannot hold my head high, I can barely hold it up at all! I have to sleep sitting up because if I roll over on my arm it is as painful as the first time it dislocated. I WISH it would go back in. If only for a minute. I did find a surgeon in PA that specializes in SC joint repair but I am afraid the scar I already have will be worse. I would love it so to feel normal again. To sleep through a night, push my kids on a swing, pull back my own hair or even spend a morning without the heat and ice and pain pills. It has been 13 years now for me, but we all have a long road ahead. What doesnt kill you makes you stronger. Maybe not physically but now you know what you can survive through. Maybe soon they WILL find an answer to permanent repair! Then we will all get our lives back. I miss being active, but at least I am alive.   ;)

Avatar universal
by Chaenyn, Sep 04, 2010
I fell off of a skateboard that my kids had given me at the age of 32.  I have a 75% subluxed SC joint. I live in Alaska and the first time I saw a surgeon he told me they couldn't see anything on X-ray and I should just get cortisone shots until the joint deteriorates enough that insurance would pay for it. I had the shot and was good for 9 months.  Then the pain came back.  My husband and I were trying to get pregnant so I didn't get another shot.  My injury progressed to moderately annoying over the next 3 years until I was pregnant and I was in a car wreck.  Since I was pregnant and the injury was significantly worse they sent me to physical therapy.  Over 3 months the injury felt better and I was feeling confidant that I would be able to hold my forthcoming baby.  It turned out that he was HUGE! 10 lbs 5.6 oz.  Within 6 weeks of his birth my SC was the worst it had ever been.  I went back to the same surgeon who could now CLEARLY see the injury on x-ray.  Again he recommended cortisone.  I was in so much pain and sleeping so little I was willing to do anything.  The shot made me feel 50% better.
I am now 38, with a 26lb 10 month old, and am pregnant again (12 weeks).  I had to take progesterone for the pregnancy which negated the cortisone.  Every time I pick up my son it is excruciating.  My plan is to get through this pregnancy with whatever sanity I can manage to keep and force a surgeon to operate.  I HAVE to be able to pick up my kids! I think I am going to have to travel to find a specialist.  Does anyone have any good suggestions?

Avatar universal
by kori969, Oct 04, 2010
I posteriorly dislocated my collarbone in 2009.  I had surgery done to try and stabilize my SC joint, but the surgery has failed. The surgeon initially used biodegradable anchors to try and hold my joint in place.  Since the time of surgery, my joint has never been stable, and is continuing to get worse.  My neck and back swell daily.  The vain in my neck is swelling, my body is out of alignment, and I am having pain that radiats down to my shoulder head.  I am having a very hard time trying to find a surgeon in my area (NJ or PA) that will perform the surgery.  Does anybody know of a Dr. in this area?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Avatar universal
by Dawnie1975, Mar 13, 2011
I broke my collarbone on the 25th feb by falling off a moped, I landed full weight on my left shoulder. A trip down to A & E confirmed what I already knew that it was broken (due to the big bulge and immense pain) I was put into a sling and sent on my way with painkillers. 2 days later i went to visit my GP who said the A & E department had strapped my arm up all wrong and sent me back there to be looked at again, this time they put a collar and cuff on which helped alot. I have a displaced fracture next to where the collar bone meets the breast bone and it has been so painful. I'm nearly into week 3 now but although the pain is not as bad I now have pain up my neck and in the back of my shoulder I still haven't got full use of my arm which I expected. I stopped wearing my collar and cuff at home due to the fact I kept my arm supported when I was resting, I'm just wondering now if I have caused more damage and it has shortened the bone and it isn't healing properly ???

Avatar universal
by JennaSPT, Apr 06, 2011
Is anyone still active or attached to this discussion thread?  I would be interested in chatting with anyone about treatment protocols and/or surgical intervention for SC joint injuries and related issues.  I am 25 years old and have been in chronic pain for seven years due to an SC joint injury sustained when I was younger.  I was just admitted to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, but am considering deferring my admission for a year to address this issue.

I am a 25-year-old female.  When I was 13, my clavicle became displaced at the SC joint.  It was stabilized slightly out-of-place through intensive physical therapy, and was essentially a non-issue for several years.

When I was 19, I began lifting weights (light weights, proper technique, proper progression, etc.).  About couple months into lifting, I developed severe muscle spasms and debilitating pain throughout my shoulder, neck and thoracic spinal muscles.  I went through several work-ups for my thoracic spine, cervical spine, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid work-ups, etc.  No injury or cause was ever found.

Recently it was determined that the muscle spasms are being caused by the misalignment of the clavicle.  I have tried every conservative therapeutic intervention I know of (multiple rounds of physical therapy, active release therapy, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, trigger point injections, changing my diet, taking supplements, etc) without relief. I am currently looking into surgical options to replace the clavicle back into the joint capsule and stabilize it.

If anyone has any information about procedures, surgeons, successful (or not successful) surgeries, I would appreciate the feedback.  I'm headed to Boston tomorrow to see Dr. Lyle Micheli for a consult, I'm hoping he will have a solution.

Avatar universal
by RRTAmber, Apr 12, 2011
I am suffering with subluxed sc joint currently, as well. I am curious about closed reduction. Has anyone had any success with closed reduction with a figure 8 strap? I have been in agony for over 2 weeks, and can't imagine going through this for much longer! I feel for all of you!

Avatar universal
by mark1223, Apr 26, 2011
Hello, I have had 7, yes 7 SC joint surgeries.  5 on my left SC and 2 on the right.  3 of which have been complete reconstruction involving removal of medial end of clavicles and securing clavicle to first rib with cadiver ligaments. The other 4 surgeries have been to remove severe arthritis and bone spurs on sternum and clavicles.  Had my first SC joint surgery in 2000. I will say from my experience SC joint injuries are an ongoing problem and are never truly 'fixed'. I am in pain everyday and now have upper back problems due to my SC joints. Drs can only tell me that my pain will get worse with age and I'm only 33. I feel for anyone who has SC joint problems as most Drs have never seen or heard of the problem and it has been hard to get help with pain relief from the medical community in general.  Trust me I have tried everything; massage, PT, accupuncture, injections, TENS device, every NSAID known, and on and on.  Bottom line is, get used to being limited what u can do with whatever side SC is bad and learn how to cope with pain!
What the mind can perceive, the body can achieve.

Avatar universal
by stillholdingon, May 13, 2011
Scj subluxation. Which basically means the ligament is damaged. It's stretched so its making the clavicle protrude outwards. Been to orthopaedic, had xray to confirm (sept 2010) sent for physical therapy, helped a little. Saw an osteopath, massive help. Saw a chiropractor, was after money, still prefer osteopaths.
Currently still in pain , seeing orthopedic next month. can't lift anything or put pressure through joint e.g. push something heavy. Did a bit of looking up and don't want because of low.success rate. Was told.they will.tie the collar bone to the back of the rib. Found out it can cause complications and I will loose mobility. Looked in to other surgeries and the one I am interested in is having the Scj cut/trimmed at the medial end. I will need to really look into that and do my research before considering that and speaking to professionals. If anyone knows more about this kind of surgery or had it done, I would.appreciate your feedback. Another option I want to try is to get the area injected prolotherapy/steroids/rich plasma/cortisons or woteva. I will speak to.the orthopedic when I see him next. The figure 8 brace for.the clavicle I would definitely try it. But for my condition I need a lot of force to push down and hold the clavicle in place which I.don't think.the brace can hold. But hey, I'll give it a shot. I.really don't know.what else is there for treatment. Just thought i'll.share my story, hopefully help others. If.anyone out there can shed some light or just offer advice I would.greatly appreciate it.  I will keep you posted on my outcome

Avatar universal
by seeya74, May 14, 2011
I dislocated my shoulder last summer and it pushed my collarbone and tore the ligaments. I was left with an unstable shoulder and an unstable SCJ. After almost a full year, I had surgery in April. They basicly harvested a tendon from my leg, drilled some holes in my collarbone and chestbone, and stiched the whole thing together.
I actually think that this will work. My SCJ is more stable. Just removing make up before caused pain, but now I only have the clicking and popping in the shoulder.
What I am unsure about is the state of my shoulder, it's still extremely loose, and spends more time being dislocated than proper seated in the shoulder joint.

At the end of the day, the shoulder and SJC is extremely difficult to fix, but I would look in to all sorts of measures before surgery, having the operation is the worst thing I have ever tried, don't underestimate the uncomfortable bits at all..

All the best..

Avatar universal
by phillygirl13, Jul 27, 2011
I have the same problem the the sc joint dislocating/subluxation. I am at the chiropractor at least once a week to have him put it back in place. Saw a shoulder surgeon in Philadelphia (who is well known to many of the Philly sports teams) who is willing to do the surgery, however, since it is not only a very risky injury but a rare injury too, the surgeon has only performed a handful of the sternocoavicular stabilization surgeries. This makes me very nervous. If anyone knows of a surgeon in the Philadelphia or Tri-state area who has done more than a handful of these surgeriesand successful surgeries, please let me know.

Avatar universal
by kgy, Oct 28, 2011
by kg, October 28, 2011

My physio is recommending prolotheraphy for my sc joint subluxation.  I have been researching prolotherapy.  Sounds very promising. I have not yet found any papers to do with prolotherapy and the sc joint.  From all the reading I have been doing, it seems like it should work.  I am lucky that he is connecting me with a good experienced MD who does lots of prolotherapy injections.

Avatar universal
by txsez, Nov 17, 2011
I have had injuries to the shoulders neck, lower back and the SCJoint and suffered through the diagnostic and misdiagnostic process alot over the years.  It seems the root of the problem is very often ligaments or tendons that are basically over stretched or wore out.  The only therapy I have found that works is prolotherapy also known as regeneration therapy.

The key to effective prolotherapy is a skilled and knowledgeable practictioner and these are few and far between.  The best one I know of is Doctor John Sessions in Kirbyville, TX.  He is a D.O. with over 30 years of experience in this field and is sought after in medical circles to teach perceptership training to other doctors in how to do the injections.  

Basically an irritant such a sodium morate or a combination of over 200 different solutions is injected into the injurred tendons or ligiments, which causes local inflamation that helps healing and causes the ligaments and tendons to lay down new colegen thus strengthening and tightening them.  This helps with joint stabilazation and a reduction in pain.  

Of course all is this is for informational purposes and in no way is medical advice.  I would also recommend the Book, "Pain Pain Go Away" by Dr. John Faber, a very informative read.  All the best to you.

Avatar universal
by bmttxgirl, Sep 06, 2012
i broke my collar bone when i was 2 and didnt experience any problems with my clavicles until about 4 years ago when my left clavicle started popping out of place with certain arm movements. the dr didnt say much about it so we took it as no big deal until my right one started doing the same thing except that it made a cracking noise and feeling whenever id do movements such as leaning back to strecth or put up my hair. because it got so bad in the right one, i had to quit pitching and stick to short stop and even then still experienced extreme pain if i were to throw wrong and i guess strain my sc joint. id sit out for a couple of days not being able to move my arm at all and id have a constant aching creaking pain that was miserable. once i decided not to play in college and graduated high school, it would irritate me here and there but i knew what to do or not to do so that it wouldnt pop or anything. this past year i started working at a tanning salon for about 8 months and the excessive cleaning there at awkward angles irritated my sc joints. about a month ago when  i quit and got a job at a drs office the next week i experienced the most pain and problems with my joints than ever before. my shoulder began to pop and crack with arm movements and my collar bones constantly ached. towards the end of the week of my first week of working there, the pain spread down my ribcage and sternum and it started to hurt me to swallow food. since they both act up and hurt, i had to choose which arm to stablize in a sling to restrict me from doing anything with that arm and to attempt to relieve the pain. my left arm started to go numb in certain places and i experienced intense pain to the touch all down my arm and shoulder. also, my arm would randomly turn completely purple because of the inflammation restricting my blood flow. when id breathe id get shooting pains right where my heart was and it was so bad i almost passed out. it would take the breathe out of me and made me tense up with every breath to the point that my muscles contracted in pain making me look like i had turrets or something haha it was awful going out in public. anyways- parents took me to the er to make sure it hadnt dislocated posterior and the next week had 4 xrays, mri, ekg stat, ct scans, and steroid injections to my joint which was awful but was to try and rule out some sort of rare disease. they put me on pain meds, mobic for the inflammation, and muscle relaxers because i was experiencing muscle spasms from the top of my neck down my entire left side to my hip. 2 weeks later im still in constant pain, lost my job because im a walking liability basically, and am not able to do anything besides go to school. cant workout, clean, anything and its awful. everything still hurts the same im just not experiencing as bad muscle spasms. but by stabilizing my left arm (since it was giving me the most pain and problems) ive used my right arm for everything now and it is beginning to hurt just as bad as the left. so i guess my option for right now is to eat and learn to write with my damn toes! hahah kidding but anyways i got a nerve test done this week and this dr told me everything all the other drs couldnt. said i need to get both of them stabilized because theyre causing me to have bad posture and straining all of my muscles and im going to always be in pain. my parents have always been again surgery (even though they dont even know how desperate i am to have this go away ): )and have always said physical therapy is the way to go. however the nerve dr confirmed that phsycial therapy will not fix this nor aid in taking away my pain because any and every movement hurts. even just sitting doing nothing causes me pain. they referred me to a specialist at texas orth. hosptial in houston to have the medial ends of my clavicles shaved off and held in place with a ligament wrapped around it- sounds disgusting. SO now after typing this novel, i wanted to ask yall if the surgery was worth it, if they could/ would do both clavicles at once or wait to do separate surgeries, and how long the recovery period is? after being told by 2 drs that this is the first time theyve ever seen anything like what i have in the 30 plus years theyve been in their profession and the numerous waste of my time dr appts over these past 4-5 years, IM DESPERATE AS HELL and want something done about it. it just irritates me so bad because no one knows what im feeling or can relate to whats going on because ive never met anyone or heard of anyone with what i have. and to be honest, this is the first time ive ever been able to find something on the internet that exactly fit my problems with my clavicles and seen other people talking about it. all ive ever been told is "this is so rare" the only reason i found this is because the doctor told me what theyd be doing in the surgery and i googled it and this popped up- makes me so angry because ive spent countless hours searching for someone else like me and my problems ): hahah. IM SO SORRY FOR THE NOVEL BUT ANY AND EVERY COMMENT OR RESPONSE WILL HELP AND BE APPRECIATED GREAAATLY! (:

Avatar universal
by Mirage47, Nov 20, 2012
Dr Peter Millett at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO is the expert on SCJ repairs here in the US. Dr Anthony Romeo may be the next best in Chicago. Good luck and i will post my results after i decide who will fix mine. Good luck.

Avatar universal
by sandi21, Nov 28, 2012
When I was heavily pregnant, my right side of my collar bone was popping. A year later, it continues to pop and where the bone is supposed to protrude has sunken. Sometimes I have pain there that makes me feel depressed. There is also faint grinding when I roll my arm in a circle. Is this the symptoms of sternoclavicular joint subluxation?

Avatar universal
by sandi21, Nov 28, 2012
Or Sternoclavicular Anterior Dislocation?

Avatar universal
by bmttxgirl, Jan 05, 2013
thanks so much and please do! sandi21- if its sunken in, that could be posterior which can be really dangerous according to my doctors and it usually occurs with an injury. mine pop grind ache you name it and apparently the only "name" for what I have is simply describing what how and where: chronic bilateral spontaneous anterior subluxation of the sternoclavicular joint. I go back to the dr on January 28 after 4 months of physical therapy. at my last visit he told me that after this last go around with therapy, well decide on whether or not to perform surgery because if PT was going to be the answer, 3 hours 3 days a week for 4 months should have made a drastic improvement in my pain and problems. to be quiet honest, it's made it worse. they think by me gaining strength I'm doing "good" and getting better- NO. I'm stronger but unable to do anything with my strength because everything i do hurts me. I'm so happy I had responses and I'm so sorry it's taken me a long time to reply i just saw these!

Avatar universal
by JohnnyCA, Jul 23, 2013
I have a anterior subluxed lady sc joint. It has been 2 1/2 years living with it. Going in for surgery soon. I want to talk with somebody about a lawyer for all this time I've been off work and all of this pain and problems I'll have to live with for forever. Please help.

Avatar universal
by Danoli, Jul 06, 2014
I tore the anterior ligament of the sternoclavicular joint. I was in a bicycle accident going 25ish mph and hit loose gravel and met the side of the road with my shoulder. I flipped over my handlebars and hit my head on a boulder, moral of that, ALWAYS wear a helmet, it saved my life. However, back to the collarbone. I fractured it so that is what wass discovered first. Then after a year where it just kept hurting, no matter what I did, it hurt to breathe. I figured that something else was wrong. I had been taking some medical classes for school and therefore figured out what I thought had happened. But because tearing that ligament is so uncommon the first doctor I went to told me I had arthritis! I cried. I said, I can't live with this amount of pain for the rest f my life, it hurts to breathe for crying out loud! So i went and got a second opinion and had a cat scan and the problem was found. I had sc joint replacement surgery six months later. They shaved off alittle off the end of my right clavical and drilled holes in the manubrium(top part) of my sternum and in the medial end of my clavical. Took the palmaris longus tendon from my right wrist and they reattached my clavical to my sternum. It hurt a whole lot and it was a hard recovery. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT! It's been seven months and I am back to normal. I pushed hard in physical therapy and always asked for more to do because I wanted to be better. Funny story, my pt actually had to tell me no once or twice when i asked her to make it harder. But, there is nothing I can't do now. I can even breathe without being in extreme pain. It has been a very hard road, but it is totally worth it. I would totally do it again-but only if I needed it. I remember sitting in church and coming to the conscious realization that I wasn't in any pain. Anywhere. It was amazing.

Thanks for reading my story

Avatar universal
by mary98136, Apr 12, 2015
I would like more information/review/thoughts on Dr. Millett and the Steadman clinic in Colorado. I live in Washington State and have exhausted medical possibilities here to help with my right SCV injury 3.5 years ago. Joint is unstable, massive muscle, soft tissue inflammation in the area constantly.  I am thinking of going out of state to Colorado for an evaluation. Anyone?  thanks

Avatar universal
by pittalumni, May 06, 2015
I was a flyer for my college cheerleading squad and took a 7 foot tumble directly to the shoulder. My first reaction was I need to go to the ER, I think I broke my collarbone. After a misdiagnosis from the local ER I was told that I had a sprained shoulder. When I started having extreme pain in my SCJ I went to pick up my x-rays and sure enough I found a dislocation and fracture  of the SCJ. (Our hospital doesn't show you your x-rays in the ER) My GP sent me to get a new set of x-rays even though he thought I was just loose and the hospital still missed the dislocation. After seeing a shoulder ortho I was told I should avoid surgery and that I would fix itself. After 2 years of it progressively getting worse I don't believe that it will fix itself. I am located in PA. So I am hoping to find a surgeon close to here that can fix it. I plan to have children in a few years and I want to be able to hold them and carry them, but if this pain continues that isn't going to be possible.

Avatar universal
by Sfreybler, May 31, 2015
I was injured by one of my students with autism and after seeing an orthapeadic dr., and chiropractor numerous times I was sent for physical therapy.  Nobody knew why I was in pain until the physical therapist had me lifting my arm and felt the clavicle pop out!  Finally it was realized I had a subluxing SC joint!  Unfortunately no dr. In my area knew what to do about it except physical therapy which made it worse!  After 3 months of PT I was referred to Mayo clinic in Rochester, where they found through CT scan my ligament connecting my clavicle to my sternum is completely torn!  I am scheduled for surgery on June 19th where Dr. Sanchez will cut off the end of my clavicle and drill a hole in remaining end if clavicle and hole in my sternum.  Then using a cadaveur ligament reattach them!  I am extremely nervous for this surgery, due to all the arteries that run nearby!  Any words of wisdom?

Avatar universal
by ReneRome, Jun 05, 2015
To mary98136 & anyone else this info may help.
I had my Sternoclavicular Resection done on May 27, 2015.
The group of drs at the UWMC/Univ Wa Medical Center are great at what they do!
I went to the Bone & Joint clinic there & am now recovering.
I previously was being tossed around by other drs for 2 1/2 yrs with zero help...this should be a crime!
Best of luck & health!

Avatar universal
by Sfreybler, Jun 07, 2015
Hope recovery is going well!  I have pre-op tomorrow at Mayo in Rochester MN.  I am extremely nervous!  How is your recovery going?  Did you spend much time in the hospital?  Any advice for surgery and recovery would help!  Thanks!

Avatar universal
by mary98136, Jul 05, 2015
To ReneRome...thank you!  I had already found out about the clinic there by sheer luck just after I posted my note...I am having surgery exactly there...the UWMC Bone and Joint Clinic, so good to hear of your success. Thanks again for posting this, I'll update after my surgery.  It was the same for me...searched for 3.5 years for someone who knew something about this.

Avatar universal
by msm12345, Aug 07, 2015
Hello all, sorry to hear about the difficulties ur all enduring. Based on personal experience with a sc joint that subluxed i would not do surgery. Prolotherapy using either dextrose/blood has worked for many who have the problem of an unstable sc joint(s). Although every situation is different, the tightening of the ligaments from the treatment has helped many. I did most of my research by searching for sternoclavicular prolo on google. Some studies have shown that even after surgery to certain areas prolo has helped alleviate pain and improve movement.

Avatar universal
by msm12345, Aug 07, 2015
In combination w prolo or surgery or whatever ur doing, physio should see if shoulder capsules/joints r stiff. This along with poor posture can put strain on the sc joints

Avatar universal
by cwise1, Sep 18, 2015
I am 54 yr old woman who's a carpenter. I was installing a kitchen with a helper and was holding a cabinet up and the collarbone popped out forward, fortunately. After a CT scan the doc said surgery wouldn't work and was too dangerous. Thanks for everyone's thoughts about this, it is very helpful. I believe I will try prolotherapy to start if I can. Know anyone in the central PA area, or tri state area? Mine was caused by arthritis they think.

Avatar universal
by maddogsmom, Nov 02, 2015
Wow, Im being told this injury is uncommon. My 15 year old daughter ( competitive cheerleader for 11 years) has been hurt and taken out of her sport. We are going from dr. to dr. right now trying to get answers and help so she can get some relieve. She is is constant pain and her collar bone is popping in and out all the time. She has had  MRI and the doc that read it said he cant tell if its anterior or posterior. I know posterior is more dangerous. We are seeing a physical therapist next week. I know its not a promising thing but we want to try everything before we even consider surgery. Im in the process of looking for doctors. We are in California but im not really having much luck.

Avatar universal
by Companion, Jul 19, 2016
I had an injury at work in 1994 which I had fallen on my left shoulder blade. The injury caused a painful popping and clicking noise in my sc joint when moving my shoulder back and forth.  In 1996 I was admitted into surgery where they removed a torn and scared meniscus.  I am doing research of my options and others that have the same situation as me.  I myself kept self-conscious of what causes more pain and what causes less pain in day to day life. I learned to use my right side strengths to compensate and my left side less to cope. It is now 20 years past and for the last 14 years I could not sleep on my left or would wake up if I roll over in my sleep.  My left shoulder is too painful to lift my arm at any height. It’s gotten to the point where I cannot dress myself in t-shirts or polo shirts. I need to wear button shirts to go out. I am asking for advice or follow up as I am just looking for advice from others with the same experience.
I am now 50 years old still need to be in the workforce, never wanted to admit to the word disability.

Avatar universal
by faleeratx, Aug 19, 2016
I've had a problem with my left sternum-clavicle joint for several months. My doctor has finally scheduled a CT/Scan next week. He said if I have the surgery, it's extremely rare and dangerous. He wouldn't feel comfortable doing it and would find a different doctor with experience in this type of surgery. It is painful when it pops out of place, but is happening with more frequency now. I've had two shots, but they just seemed to make it easier to pop out. It doesn't matter what I am doing with my left arm, almost anything will trigger it. I'm hoping that there will be a great doctor in my area since I am located in North Central Texas in the D/FW area. I'm willing to travel for this to get it fixed the right way. I am also still in the workforce and need to continue for several years.

Avatar universal
by WCindy, Aug 23, 2016
I am a 53 yr old women that had an accident at work, which has cause my SC joint to move upwards 9mm and pushed my clavicle over 4mm , I have been in pain since November, 2 surgeon's later gave me 16 weeks of physo which has not helped . September 7th/16 we're going to talk about operating . The swelling and stiffness , will they go away after? How long is recovery time , and will I ever beable to work again?  They have told me arthritis has set in , but sharp constant pain and pain rubbing is awful . I have to sleep sitting up and when I talk to long the pain grows. Very nervous about having this done . Any advise?

Avatar universal
by faleeratx, Oct 24, 2016
I finally have a doctor to do this surgery. He is one of two at the UT Southwestern school in Dallas, Texas who have performed this surgery more than once. I have confidence in his ability. I have a follow-up with him tomorrow to find out what a surgery date will be and perhaps get answers to other questions. I want to know about hospital stay, recovery and follow-up therapy. I'll let y'all know.

Avatar universal
by jennypfaff, Nov 23, 2016
My daughter is 14 and has been suffering like you all with chronic subluxation of her SC joint and now also subluxation of her shoulder several times a day.  We are traveling to see Dr Millett at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO.  He has a lot of experience in SC joint reconstruction.  We are very hopeful that after 2 years, she will finally be able to lift her arm beyond 90 degrees.  I will post again afterwards.  Wouldn't it be great if everyone could just deal with this issue once and for all and get back to a normal, functional life!?  I feel for all of you.  Watching her condition deteriorate and her pain increase after seeing 5 orthopedics  and countless hours of useless physio and injections has been heartbreaking.  Hope to report good news soon!  

Avatar universal
by itsmejenn, Jan 07, 2017
Just had a SC joint resection done by Dr Millett in Vail, CO.  Doc is fabulous. . I had a forced injury to it by a chiropractor and nothing my Orthopedics docs, helped . Went through steroids, cortisone shots...physical therapy would not touch me because they didn't know what was going on.

My local doc said he could do the repair.  Told me he'd only ever done 2 of them as they are not very common.
He also told me the best place to go for a repair, if I wanted to travel was to the Steadman Clinic.  So, we did.
I can't say enough great things about Dr. Millett and his team.   All great people who actually know what they're doing.

Avatar universal
by GJm33, Jan 18, 2017
Hi, To itsmejenn,  how much does it cost  you to do the SC joint resection? What  city Dr miller from?
Thank you.

Avatar universal
by serengetsu, Apr 13, 2017
Hey everyone,

I am an senior undergraduate at a US university and am currently participating in my last season of competitive sports for the school.

Unfortunately, in my second game of the season in February, I suffered a hairline fracture to my right clavicle and likely sprained my right SC joint. I had pain on the day of the injury, but it had subsided and I regained ROM by that Wednesday. I also took an Xray and it was misread, as they did not spot the hairline fracture.

Upon return to practice a few days after the injury, I subluxed the SC joint. I remember feeling it move upwards and caused a sharp pain that subsided rather quickly. I was set up for a CT scan the next week but told I was fully physically able besides contact sports. While traveling with the team (not playing) the next week, my undetected hairline fracture became a full-on fracture while carrying a moderately heavy object (~45lb). I was not experiencing any pain until the fracture, but would have been in a protective sling had the hairline fracture been detected. The hairline fracture was discovered after reexamining my original X-ray alongside the X-ray that showed the fracture. It also revealed some chipping of the clavicle at the SC joint. Curiously, the radiologist's report on the CT scan's examination for the SC joint read that both of my sternoclavicular joints were "regularly seated".

Now, 8 weeks have past and my clavicle fracture has healed entirely. I still, however, have some discomfort at the SC joint. It noticeably protrudes when I lift my arm above my head or angle my shoulder backwards, but range of motion is not impacted, nor are these motions painful. During physical activity, I wear a shoulder brace to feel more stable, but still feel some discomfort at the joint - I can almost feel it sitting out during activity (not entirely, just partially protruding from the joint socket) After physical activity, it does tend to be sore and sometimes even (very tolerably) painful. I have been using K-tape on the joint during activity and icing afterwards diligently.

I have been cleared by an orthopedist to return to the team for full activities, but still am nervous about the healed state of my SC joint. I am aware that most sprains/anterior dislocations heal in a way in which the joint still sits somewhat outward, but I still am tentative in vigorously pushing off in a practice/game and other contact events. Unfortunately, due to the rareness of this type of injury, none of my training staff are very knowledgeable/experienced in how to treat this injury.

Is this discomfort natural for a recently healed anterior sprain/subluxation? Or do I need to be looking for more opinions on what my condition at the SC joint may be? I am hoping that most of my tentativeness in activity is mental and will gradually subside as I gain confidence, but the fact I still experience discomfort is frustrating.

Additionally, at the end of my season, it is likely that I will be playing 4 games in a very accelerated portion of time during the postseason. Is it possible to get a cortisone to subside the discomfort/pain I may be feeling in the ligaments of my SC joint for this period?

Avatar universal
by J10alexander, Apr 29, 2017

  30 year old male here in Dallas Texas. New to this website and I'm really hoping it will be a useful resource. I was in a very bad car accident in 2007 that I was lucky to even survive. About a year and half later I started seeing doctors due to pain in my shoulder and neck and my life has gone downhill since. And its seems to only be getting worse. which makes my future pretty bleak at the moment. Something has to be done. After 10 years of dealing with this I'm exhausted and barely have any fight left in me.
   This problem has ruined my life. I have lost my dream job of 9 years, my house, my vehicle, my health insurance, and my mind. I went from having my name published in science journals to barely being able to read or write anymore. Not to mention all the  time and money wasted on countless doctors, tests, and imaging. And of course none of the  imaging Ive had over the years was really ideal for looking at the SCJ. Although I'm sure somethings can be existing images if  someone knows what they are looking for. I feel like I can see some evidence in some Xrays from 2013 but I'm obviously not a doctor and not going to claim to be sure of it. I had major neck surgery  about 2 years but I now believe it was just treating the symptoms and not the source. So this problem is now 10 years in the making and has just been missed and misdiagnosed for so long which is fairly common from what I understand. It's just rare and not too many doctors have the know how to diagnose or treat it. So now I'm just looking for  knowledgeable doctor. My wife and I suspected my collar bone years ago because of the protruding lump but we thought that one of the hundreds of doctors I've seen would have caught it.
  I only just recently came to conclusion of SC joint injury after doing some research and EVERYTHING makes sense now. EVERY issue over the years can be explained by this and again the lump is just more confirmation. Just knowing what it is has made such a big difference and just lifestyle changes can help. That being said, lately mine has been getting worse and and it's back to causing subluxations in my neck  which, I recently learned, SC joint issues may when left untreated. I'm losing arm strength and I'm just miserable all the time. It's debilitating and I'm not able to support my family which is the worst feeling of all. It has always effected my breathing and made it hard to swallow but it's gotten scary lately. And I know those symptoms mean it needs to be looked at immediately but I'm not sure what my next move should be. Not having insurance and being unemployed. It is getting more difficult  use the phone or computer and it's getting scary to drive so getting another job has not been easy either.

Sorry for being such a bummer but I just wanted to reach out and maybe share any resources or advice. Anything really.

- Justin A.

Avatar universal
by stephrober, Jul 13, 2017

I wanted to pass on our story regarding a dislocated SC joint. My 15 year old son was dropped on his head in wrestling practice. Not only was his left clavicle fractured through the growth plate is was dislocated at the SC joint. As a new high school sports athlete this was devastating. The emergency room doctor admitted that she had actually never personally seen it before. She had to have 2 orthopedic surgeons read the x-ray to verify. Our local orthopedic felt it needed surgery but did he did not have experience doing the surgery. We live in Salem, Oregon and were sent to a specialist in Portland, Oregon that told us it would heal it self. ?????? OHSU doctors are some of the best... and this was our answer.

As I read the posts before this, I see many people are told this. The surgery is risky and I believe this is why they give this answer. His clavicle was completely unstable and almost an inch above where it should be.

Our son could not move his arm across his body with out the bone pushing on his throat area. We were not comfortable leaving him like this for the rest of his life. Our research brought up Dr. Peter Millett from the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.

He answered our emails and viewed our sons CT scan for a 4th opinion within 2 days!!!!! He believed he needed to be repaired immediately. He called us with 3 other surgeons in the room to explain what needed to be done.

Within a week we flew to Colorado to have the procedure. February 8, 2017. Dr. Millett fixed our son.

He is currently in his 13 week of intense physical therapy and he is doing GREAT!!!! His left collarbone lays down equally with the right side. Other than his scar you would never know anything happened to him. He has NO PAIN!

He has started swinging the baseball bat (his best sport)  and can now do a full push up. This would not be possible without Dr. Millett and his team. I will be honest and say we have struggled with the insurance company and will continue to fight, but we made the right decision.

Please call or email his office for an opinion. We can't say enough good things about what Dr. Peter Millett has done.

-Stephani R.

Avatar universal
by cindystites76, Aug 25, 2017
I am waiting to see if I am accepted as a patient by Dr. Jed Kuhn, at Vanderbilt Sports Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. I have an SC joint dislocation that happened this past December, while doing Crossfit. My surgeon here in Indianapolis sent me for cortisone injections in my AC joint and my SC joint to see if it would help with the pain and inflammation. It worked great for about 6 or 7 months. Now I am in a lot of pain again, and my right pec muscle is starting to hurt when I take any kind of deep breath. The pain radiates up my neck and is getting to the point of constantly hurting. I have already had two shoulder surgeries on this side of my body, including a clavicle resection in 2010. The resection apparently was not substantial enough, and I was supposed to have that fixed this fall. But with my coinciding SC joint issue, my surgeon is sending me to Tennessee, to see someone who specializes in SC joint surgeries, and he would then also operate on my shoulder during the same visit. I am pretty concerned, given the vital junk that is in the area of the SC joint, but the pain is exhausting. It shouldn't hurt to breathe. For those who have had this surgery, am I worried for no reason? I am 41 years old and not ready to croak just yet. Any advice is welcome.
- Cindy

Avatar universal
by cevans_30, Oct 21, 2017
hi, idk if you still read these comments but I was 14 when I was diagnosed with chronic bilateral anterior sc joint dislocation and about a year afterwards decided to have surgery since I couldn’t use either of arms without constant dislocation, pain, and numbness in my fingers. They used a different technique on mine than the one you described, I went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. but so far ( 2 months later) I think I am very happy with the results and can’t wait to have the surgery on the other side so that I can get back to my normal daily activities (washing my hair without numb fingers). I think surgery is the best option if you’re young and the condition is starting to greatly affect your life, just making sure you have experienced doctors.

Avatar universal
by cevans_30, Oct 21, 2017
also, I went to doctors in lexington and at vanderbilt, both recommended I got a 2nd opinion with a doctor who had more experience

Post a Comment