Injuries to the SCJ can be graded into three types. A grade I injury is a mild sprain secondary to stretching of the sterno-clavicular and costoclavicular ligaments. A grade II injury is associated with subluxation of the joint (anterior or posterior) secondary to rupture of the sternoclavicular ligament. The costoclavicular ligament remains intact. Complete rupture of the sternoclavicular and costoclavicular ligaments results in a grade III injury (dislocation).
Minor trauma may result in a sprain are treated with with ice, sling, and analgesics and follow up with Orthopaedics.
Anterior and Posterior Dislocation
Results from a direct blow to the shoulder, causing the shoulder to roll forward. Patients present with severe pain which is exacerbated by arm movement and lying supine. The pain will be exacerbated by lateral shoulder compression, arm movements, deep breathing or coughing.The shoulder may appear shortened and rolled forward.
On examination, anterior dislocations have a prominent medial clavicle end that is visible and palpable anterior to the sternum while in posterior dislocations, the medial clavicle end is less visible and often not palpable, and the patient may have signs and symptoms of impingement of the superior mediastinal contents, such as stridor, dysphagia, and shortness of breath.
CXR is needed to exclude a injuries such as a pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, and hemopneumothorax. Routine radiographs have a low sensitivity for the detection of dislocation and thus special views and comparison with the other clavicle may be required. CT remains the imaging procedure of choice and is recommended especially in any posterior dislocation with concern for injury to the mediastinal structures.
Closed reduction may be performed within 10 days of the injury by placing the patient supine with a towel rollin between the shoulder blades. The arm is then abducted to 90 degrees and longitudinal traction is applied with slight extension by moving the arm toward the ground, and pressure is placed over the medial end of the clavicle. The application of direct pressure over the medial end of the clavicle may also reduce the joint. Post reduction, the patient should be placed in a figure of * brace for 4-6 weeks. Despite successful reduction, the joint is usually remains unstable and redislocates in half of the cases.
The use of acute reduction of anterior dislocations is controversial as most end up redislocating and reduction techniques risk injury to mediastinal structures.
- Posterior dislocations necessitate prompt orthopaedic referral and looking for evidence of compression of retrosternal structures.
- Anterior dislocations often remains unstable post treatment and thus acute reduction is debatable.
- Rosen's Emergency Medicine - 7th Edition
- TIntinalli's Emergency Medicine - 8th Edition
- Morell, D. J., & Thyagarajan, D. S. (2016). Sternoclavicular joint dislocation and its management: A review of the literature. World Journal of Orthopedics, 7(4), 244–250. http://doi.org/10.5312/wjo.v7.i4.244