Friday, December 21, 2012

Sternoclavicular early onset osteoarthritis

Ongoing investigations of my chronic clavicle pain have taken place.

I’ve seen 2 chiropractors, 1 osteopath, a massage therapist and an athletic therapist. I had an ultra sound and xray done which got me a referral to a sports medicine doctor who sent me for a bone scan.

It’s been quite the road. The pain started almost an entire year ago. It made me quit running for 3 or 4 months in  hopes of healing whatever ailed me. I tried some exercises and daily icing. I took loads of over-the-counter anti inflammatory meds. I tried running again but kept getting set back by pain. I cut running out of my schedule due to the trouble it took and also to focus entirely on the bike.

Before I had the bone scan the doc remarked that it sounded like osteoarthritis given the duration of time the pain had been chronic. The bone scan came back with some interesting results.

Remember the mountain bike crash I was in a while back? Well that has nothing to do with my clavicle but the scan shows 4 fractured ribs and 2 fractured “transverse process” of the L2 and L4. The doc explained to me those are the little bony bits that stick out on either side of the lumbar vertebrates. 6 fractured bones in total from that bike crash. No wonder I was hurting so bad. I’m FINE NOW though and the fractures aren’t bothering me any more.

The clavicle though, showed as unremarkable. Meaning there is nothing broken or fractured. The scan showed degenerative stress in the SC joint (where the clavicle attaches to the sternum). Diagnosed as early onset osteoarthritis. Back in my hay day I was a rock climber. My massage therapist at that time told me I had repetitive strain injury in that shoulder as a result. My shoulder has never been right since. I guess a year ago it finally decided to revolt and let me know just how much I mistreated it in the past. There is scar tissue surrounding the joint that is noticeable to the touch when compared to my right clavicle.

This is the only pic I could find that I had access to on facebook without going back into my million pictures

Moving forward? Will I ever run again?
Sure I will.

I’ll be looking into some physiotherapy as a starting point to get some pointers and exercises. Then it’ll be up to me to maintain it. For now though I’m on prescription anti-inflammatory meds that are doing wonders. If only it were that easy though.

Nothing like a diagnosis of “arthritis” to make me feel old and fragile.

But a diagnosis after almost a year of searching is worth it.


  1. I'm glad you got some answers and the beginnings of a treatment plan. I'm sure you'll be running again soon, but... Take it slow, don't push it, and listen to your doctor's advice. Remember how awesomely Céline came back from her injury?

  2. Well knowing is always better than wondering. I was diagnosed approximately 10 years ago with tendonistis/early onset arthritis in both my patella tendons in my knees, estentially so called "jumpers knee". The doctor said it was the end of my career in skateboarding. In a way he was right. I never topped a podium in competition again, but I did go on to perform professionally in skateboard shows for the next 10 years with the help of a dedicated icing and stretching routine. Unfortunately it also included copius amounts of NSAI's (ibuprofen), which I now suspect to be the leading cause of a chronic stomach condition. No one said being an athlete was easy, but that's why we do it right? You can manage this condition and I will help you.
    Ryan xo

  3. Well I am happy to hear that you finally have a diagnosis but choked that it is this. The good thing is that you are an athlete who is determined and damn good at what she does! I know with dedication and patience you will have many, many years of running and biking ahead of you. You continue to inspire me in my athletic goals. Now go get em!

  4. Listen to Jeff! He knows :)

    I'm glad your pain has a name. It's always easier to know what the problem is. Hopefully the road is a little easier from here.

  5. Knowledge is gold. Of course you know this, but it's great that you have a diagnosis. I have no doubt that an enjoyable run, or many enjoyable runs, are in your future. Glad you're healing.

  6. 6 fractures? Holy shit!

    I'm glad you've gotten some sort of diagnosis - that has to help in putting a plan together for recovery. Like Jeff said, be patient with yourself!


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