Collar bone cracking and pain

For a while now everytime I go to do a push up my right collar bone starts to pop and crack and it hurts. I never thought about it that much but I ride horses so shoulders back is a very important thing so earlier today while sitting on my desk I went to roll my shoulders back and I felt that popping pain.

I put my hand over my right clavicle bone and I can feel it popping when I go to roll it back. With the popping comes pain.

Hello Savanah,
There are two joints involving the clavicle. One at the sternum and the other at the tip of the shoulder; I presume you mean the latter, known as the acromioclavicular, or AC, joint.

The joint is subluxating when you place it under stress. It means that the ligaments stabilising the joint have been stretched or ruptured, usually by a fall on the outstretched arm. It's just one of the reasons that chiropractors take a serious dislike to falls off horses. Serious injury is all too common.

There's no easy solution; if it goes on clicking like that, it will become arthritic, and spurs often tear the supraspinatus tendon. The rule is, try not to do actions that make it click. That probably means no more pressups.

The ligaments can be surgically shortened but it's no simple procedure.

The joint will gradually stiffen as the cartilage degenerates but it won't necessarily be less painful.

My best advice to avoid those situations that make it click. I would recommend talking to the medical world to see what they suggest.

Dr B

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Dec 18, 2017
Collarbone poping (no pain)
by: Anonymous

Hey, can you help me?

I can feel my collarbone gliding and popping when moving my arms above my head. However, there is no pain to it and it just feels awkward. I've done X-ray to see if it's broken but doctor says it's absolutely fine.

Well, it's obviously not 'absolutely fine' but it's questionable whether it needs treatment; sometimes we just accept these things.

The collar bone has two joints, one in the front at the sternum, and the other out near the point of the shoulder. Which is troubling? Or is it down between the shoulderblade and the ribcage?

I would start with some general range of motion exercises, done every day, for a few weeks. You'll find them at the shoulder pages at Chiropractic Help.

Then move on to isometrics and our 'shoulder exerciser' that you can make at home. You'll find directions at the link.

Some people can manage these irritations with self help, others need more professional help. If you're up to it, and disciplined, try first to help yourself.

Dr B

Dec 03, 2017
Need Help With Collarbone
by: Anonymous

I broke my collarbone 2 years ago; it gets pain in it and cracks every time I move it.

I would return to the doctor who treated you for the fracture.

Dr B

Oct 27, 2017
Clicking sound in my shoulder which has incomplete fracture
by: Shai

I had recently a car accident last two weeks and now I feel in my lateral clavicle which has an incomplete fractured bone is making clicking sounds... I'm worried that I think my fractured bone will not heal or it takes long time to healed... can you help me?

Actually Shai small movements in fractured bones help it heal more strongly.

I take it you are in a sling, or have had the bone pinned.

One small thing: that cracking sound may be coming from the AC joint; that's more difficult.

Dr B

Oct 18, 2017
sternum and collar bone stiffness until it pops
by: kayla


I've been having a problem with my sternum cracking for about 2 years now. I will feel a lot of pressure (almost always when i wake up in the morning) and at random times throughout the day until i get my sternum to crack; sometimes, it cracks really easily, and all i have to do is stretch my arms up and back and ill hear and feel a loud, satisfying crack in the middle of my sternum, which instantly relieves all pain and pressure. Other times, it won't crack and I have to live with all the pain and pressure until it does.

Dropping my arms down and bending over and shaking my arms and then raising my arms up and back seems to help get it to pop. I've been living with this irritation for two years. recently, my collar bones started doing the same thing, pain and pressure until they pop; but to get them to pop, I have to pull my arms downwards, it then cracks and I feel 100% better and back to normal. please help.

Hello Kayla,
You mostly likely have a condition known as costochondritis, but I'm concerned that it's beginning to affect the collar bone. Is there a lump, or redness at these joints?

Do you have any midback pain?

I think you are handling it well with your own treatment, though we do have concerns about daily popping of joints.

Alternating ice and heat in the shower, with an iceblock directly on the offending joint might help, followed by gentle massage with your fingers along the ribs.

Is this happening in any other joints in your body? Then you need to start thinking about your diet, and especially the omega 6/ omega-3 ratio. In short, fatty fish regularly. It's all in the fish oil, so those that have been substituted with brine or sunflower oil are no good.

Read up about an anti inflammatory diet; lots of coloured foods in your diet.

Dr B.

Oct 04, 2017
Collar bone cracks and grinds
by: Anonymous

I have so much grinding and cracking on both sides of my collar bone whenever I rotate my shoulders; it happens all the time and when I rotate my head round I feel grinding on top of my spine at the back of my neck.
I haven't injured myself at all; what could it be?

We don't get too excited about clicking sounds from the joints of the collar bone, in the absence of any other symptoms. If there's no pain or stiffness and no radiation to the arm or neck, I wouldn't fuss.

From the spine it's another story, because there's usually progressive stiffness that goes with it, and then tingling and pain radiating down the arm; or headaches, depending on which part of the neck is affected.

It depends on your age too; at 70 I wouldn't be concerned; at 35 I would recommend you have your cervical spine examined.

Dr B

Mar 21, 2017
Middle collarbone and clavicle
by: Trevor

Hey, I'm a kickboxer and regularly do exercise for my upper back and arms and I went to do a press up 2 weeks ago and I felt a snapping like sound/feel and I was out of action for 3 days due to pain.

I've had x rays and it is not broken or fractured, but I still get pain in the middle of the collarbone when I push my shoulder all the way back then forward and it's annoying, any advice on how to get rid of the pain and continue my kickboxing?

There's no way a fit guy like you would fracture the clavicle doing press ups.

If it's midshaft then you've probably strained the subclavius muscle; google it. But it could be referred pain from the joints at either end of the bone.

I'd just doing some gentle exercises for a couple weeks, go looking for the pain but stop before it hurts; stay off the heavy stuff or you're likely going to have a chronic injury.

If it's not gone in say two weeks then you need a professional opinion. Not the person who recommended the x-ray!

Dr B

Mar 07, 2017
Collarbone cracking
by: Robert

I am 14 years old and broke both my collarbones twice before I was 10. My right clavicle is perfect and strong but my left feels very weak and cracks when I rotate it and move it in different positions. I play rugby and I try not to tackle with my left shoulder as I think it will do something to it. Any help will be great. Thanks.

Hello Robert,
It's unlikely the collarbone - clavicle - hasn't knit; you wouldn't be able to play rugby.

But at the ends of the clavicle there are two joints, one with the shoulder blade called the AC joint, and the other articulates with the sternum, or breastbone; it's called the SC joint, from sterno-clavicular.

It's most likely the ligaments of one one these joints were torn allowing it to 'crack'.

I would recommend an orthopaedic opinion. Talk to your folks.

Dr B

Feb 23, 2017
Painful popping clavicle
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a 17 year old female archer (right handed, so I draw back my bow using my right arm, shoulder and upper right back) and horse rider. I've become very conscious of the fact that my collarbone pops twice when I rotate my right shoulder backwards, and once when I abduct/adduct my right arm. The popping is about 1.5 inch from the center of my sternum.

It's recently started to hurt a little and the popping is becoming more frequent, pretty much with every motion. I have a history of knee pain from horse riding and getting some slight occasional shoulder and back pain from archery, but I haven't been shooting for the last couple of months so I am unsure as to what's causing the popping.

I have had no falls or injury to my shoulder area in several months.
Any thoughts?

Yes, no injuries to the shoulder recently but clearly in the past you have fallen, probably onto the shoulder, driving the collarbone in a medial and anterior direction; probably the sternoclavicular joint ligaments are weak allowing the clavicle to subluxate when you are stressing the joint.

It's the sort of reason I'm afraid why chiropractors hate horse riding; this is only an irritating injury; much more injuries to the head, spine and pelvis are common. Ride within your ability, not always challenging the limits, or worse may happen.

Frankly I don't have much to recommend for your SC joint, other than starting some daily shoulder exercises, and a proper warm up programme before shooting.

Sorry not to be more positive.

Dr B

Feb 10, 2017
Collarbone popping
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a 13 almost 14 year old girl.

My collarbone has been popping as long as I can ever remember, but now whenever it pops it always hurts. I don't do anything to pop it or try to pop it; I just want to know if I should see a doctor for this.

Thank you.

Which end of the collarbone pops? At the breastbone, or the tip of the shoulder? There are joints at each end.

Most likely you had an old injury as a child, straining the ligaments. Does the bone sit proud in either joint, compared to the other side?

Chat to your parents about it, but, yes, any pain that continues, especially in a teenager, needs to be investigated.

Dr B

Jan 24, 2017
Collarbone hurting after workout
by: Anonymous

I was in gym, and we were doing elevated bench press, and I did 3 reps of ten. Now my left collarbone is sore, and when I move it it pops, and hurts. Is it damaged, or it it just because of the work out?

Confess I'm not a gym fan; you've no idea how much work they bring us with stories not unlike yours. How about a skipping rope and bicycle instead; save you a lot of money and lot of pain.

If there's a popping sound then most likely you've torn some ligaments in the AC joint, but that's a guess. What's needed is a professional assessment of the damage. Usually it will need to be taped, you'll have to stay off gym for six weeks, and hope that the joint stabilises.

Is there a step in the acromioclavicular joint? Compare sides; is that where the popping sound is?

Don't get neurotic, but get over this injury before pumping iron again. The AC joint has the propensity to become arthritic and then the spurs damage the supraspinatus ligament that lies just below it; that means trouble.

See someone who knows about shoulders.

Dr B

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