Chain of issues on right side of body: knot in right of neck, sternoclavicular joint popping, elbow tendon cracking on outside of elbow joint.

by Zac

Chain of issues on right side of body: knot in right of neck, sternoclavicular joint popping, and elbow tendon cracking on outside of elbow joint suggests the need for a spinal examination.

Knot in top right of my neck, to the right of C2. Tendon popping in right sternocalvicular joint when raising my right arm overhead and lowering it, but it doesn't pop when I raise both arms at the same time. Also, right elbow tendon popping over outside of elbow joint during last 5-10 degrees of flexion.

Last October I sustained an injury to my left scapula where I lost all strength in my left side while doing pull ups. Still an ongoing injury, going to physical therapy for it was diagnosed at scapular winging. The injuries/issues I referenced above did not come about until 3 or 4 months ago. I was thinking that they were linked to my scapula injury. Although my scapula is getting better these other issues are not. My physical therapist told me to keep trying things such as overhead press and pull ups as long as my elbow popping doesn't cause pain; he thinks it's just instability.

Any insight into my problems would be immensely appreciated! I'm tired of being injured and want to get back to strength training. I've googled everything I can think of and can't find anything.


Hello Zac,
It is frustrating but don't feel alone; virtually all of us have difficulties in our chosen sport, and sometimes it means a change to another, or continued pain and frustration.

I for example had to give up playing squash at a high level, or face a lower back operation; of six months of moping I discovered gliding; soaring in the clouds is far more exciting. You may have to discover another sport.

For me what's important is our sport should add to our health; repeated injuries and pain make no sense. Simply accepting you have to go lighter is another option.

Every muscle and joint capsule requires a healthy nerve supply; otherwise it weakens and is then injured. Although you make little mention of spinal pain or disability, I suspect that underlying all these issues is one or more irritated nerves.

After illness or injury you also have to undergo rehab and time needs to pass before to gung ho for the tissue to heal; returning too soon simply means reinjury and frustration. Find another sport or activity that complements weight training whilst you recover.

Sternocostal popping is very frustrating, and I have no solution except do less work that causes the popping; repeated subluxation will only worsen it. If you get a palpable lump over the SC joint then Tietze's syndrome needs to be considered.

I hope this contributes. Probably not what you want to hear alas.

Dr B

» Chain of issues on right side of body: knot in right of neck, sternoclavicular joint popping, and elbow tendon popping on outside of elbow joint.

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