Strengthening the sternoclavicular joint starts with range-of-motion stretches and your program should consist of shoulder stability exercises. Participating in a program to strengthen this joint may help you avoid injuries.
The sternoclavicular joint, sometimes referred to as the SC joint, is one of the three main joints associated with the shoulder girdle. The SC joint attaches the collarbone to the breastbone via four ligaments and links the bones of the upper arm and shoulder to the main vertical skeleton. The intra-articular disc, costoclavicular, interclavicular and capsular ligaments keep the joint stable and hold it in place.
Neck rotation and chest stretch are examples of stretching exercises that help improve your range of motion and flexibility. Start the neck rotation exercise by standing erect or sitting in a sturdy chair with your eyes looking straight ahead. Keep your chin level, turn your head to the right as far as you can, hold the position for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise to the left to complete one repetition. Perform 10 repetitions. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders level throughout the exercise. To perform the chest stretch, stand erect, move your arms behind your back and clasp your hands together. Slowly lift your hands and arms away from your body. The Summit Medical Group recommends holding the stretch 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and repeat three times.
The shoulder shrug is a strengthening exercise that requires 2-pound hand weights. Hold a weight in each hand, stand with your arms hanging by your sides and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly shrug your shoulders forward and up with a rolling movement. Relax, shrug and roll your shoulders backward and up. Relax and shrug your shoulders straight up. This completes one repetition. Kaiser Permanente, a health care organization, recommends performing 10 repetitions, two times a day to strengthen the shoulder girdle.
Sit on a sturdy, armless chair with a 2-pound hand weight in your right hand. Start with your arm hanging to the right side of the chair. Keep your arm straight, palm facing to the left and slowly lift your arm up in front of your body. Reach overhead as high as you comfortably can and then slowly lower your arm to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, switch the weight to your left hand and repeat the exercise.
Lying Scapular Retraction/Protraction
This exercise stretches and strengthens the muscles of your chest and middle back. You will need an exercise mat and a resistance band to perform the exercise. Lie on your back on the mat, grasp the resistance band with your hands shoulder-width apart and extend your arms straight above your shoulders. This is the starting position. There should be a slight resistance in the band. Pull your hands apart, squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend your arms out to your sides. With control, slowly return your arms to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- eOrthopod: Sternoclavicular Joint Problems
- SportsInjuryClinic.net: Shoulder Anatomy
- Summit Medical Group: Sternoclavicular Joint Separation Rehabilitation Exercises
- Kaiser Permanente.net: Shoulder-Girdle Exercises
- North DeKalb Orthopedics: Sternoclavicular Joint Separation
- Pilates-Back-Joint-Exercise.com: Best Exercises for Shoulder Stabilization