Your collarbone, or clavicle, anchors your scapula, or shoulder blades, and helps keep your shoulders in place. Your collarbone functions as an attachment site for numerous muscles and tendons. Most importantly, the ligaments that support your arm, chest and back all attach at your collarbone. Pain in your collarbone during weight-bearing exercises such as pushups may indicate any number of injuries ranging from a relatively mild bout of tendinitis to the more serious acromioclavicular joint separation injury. For the correct diagnosis and proper course of treatment, be sure to consult with your doctor.
The acromioclavicular joint is between your collarbone and your shoulder blade; the acromioclavicular ligament connects these two bones as well as the coracoclavicular and coracoacromial ligaments, all of which may experience sprains, tears or dislocations. Pain during pushups may relate to acromioclavicular joint injuries, which are categorized on a scale from 1 to 6. In grades 3 and above, a lump or obvious deformity may appear at the top of the shoulder. Lower-grade injuries typically respond to rest, ice and immobilization in a sling, but grades 4 through 6 require surgery. Consult with your doctor as to your best course of treatment.
Tendinitis & Impingement
Pain experienced near your collarbone during pushups may indicate an overuse injury such as tendinitis or shoulder impingement syndrome. In these injuries, pain typically also radiates across your shoulder into your neck and down your arm, and is accompanied by diminished range of motion. Both injuries usually respond well to rest and ice.
Hairline Clavicle Fracture
A collarbone has a fragile design compared to other bones, due to its lengthened double curve. As a result, collarbones fracture relatively easily. Pain in your collarbone during pushups may indicate that your have a hairline fracture; it may be more severe if swelling and reduced range of motion accompanies the pain. Collarbone fractures usually require four to six weeks of complete rest to heal properly, but your doctor will be able to give you a better time-frame for your own particular recovery..
Exercises that employ shoulder and chest muscles are perennial favorites for gym enthusiasts and athletes alike. However, the collarbone region requires both a proper warm-up and adequate rest to function optimally. Warm up with at least five minutes of dynamic stretches or light aerobic activity. Perform static stretches for your upper back, shoulders and chest after your pushups. Stagger your workouts -- at least one day between -- vary your exercises, and cross train frequently to avoid over-training this area of your body.