Sternoclavicular Joint Instability (SC Instability) Overview
Sternoclavicular joint instability is a condition that occurs when the bones and structures that make up the SC joint region of the shoulder do not work as designed, commonly caused by an associated shoulder injury. Similar to shoulder instability, patients with SC instability experience similar symptoms and joint issues. Patients who have experienced an SC joint subluxation, dislocation or sprain, or those who have a degenerative condition, such as arthritis, may experience ongoing sternoclavicular joint instability if the condition is not corrected. Patients requiring treatment in the Austin, Texas area can count on Dr. Jeff Padalecki, shoulder specialist, to correct instability of the SC joint.
SC Instability Symptoms
Sternoclavicular joint instability occurs when the ligaments connecting the clavicle (collarbone) and sternum (breastbone) are weak, stretched or loose. Patients with SC instability often experience mild shoulder pain, as well as an uncomfortable feeling that the joint will shift or pop out of position.
SC Instability Diagnostic Testing
Patients who have sternoclavicular joint instability will receive a thorough physician exam by Dr. Padalecki so he can assess the underlying condition or disorder causing the SC instability. A series of X-rays, an MRI scan and/or a CT scan may also be ordered to determine the extent of shoulder damage and to confirm the shoulder injury causing the instability. After careful review of the patient’s shoulder and diagnostic tests, a proper course of treatment will be prescribed.
SC Instability Treatment
In most cases of SC instability, Dr. Padalecki will perform a surgical repair that involves tightening the shoulder capsule and ligaments so the SC joint is firmly connected. This helps reduce the mobility of the joint. Dr. Padalecki will explain all treatment options at the patient’s first consultation.
SC Instability Post-Op
A rehabilitation program will be prescribed at the first post-operative visit with Dr. Padalecki. The rehabilitation program usually involves a predetermined period of shoulder immobilization with the use of a sling. Following this, a slow, progressive return to activities will begin under the direction of a physical therapist. Rehabilitation after surgery is as important as the surgical repair itself. Without proper rehab, the chance of a full recovery is diminished.
For additional information on sternoclavicular joint instability, or SC instability treatment options, please contact Dr. Jeff Padalecki, orthopedic shoulder specialist in the greater Austin, Texas communities.