Swollen sterno clavicular joint

by Amanda Jane
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Evidence of Tietze's syndrome

Evidence of Tietze's syndrome

I have had a hard lump on my collar bone near my throat, swollen collar bones & sternum for the past 11 months. The lump near my throat & the sternum are very painful. I have seen 4 bone, osteopaths, chiropractors & none can explain the reason for the swellings. I have had antibiotics, anti inflammatory tablets & the swelling have not subsided.

I had a car accident in July 2015 but surely symptoms would not show up this much later?

Really would appreciate you help or advice.

Thank you.

Hello Cup Cakes!
What a beautiful nickname, just don't eat them. They are the epitome of a downgrade in your health.

But almost certainly it has nothing to do with the lump. You almost certainly have a condition known as Tietze's syndrome. It affects the joints that connect to the sternum; the ribs and the clavicle.

To be honest there's not a great deal known about Tietze's syndrome, but my feeling is that comes after trauma to the clavicle or rib cage.

My initial thoughts were from the seatbelt in the MVA, but that would cross your right clavicle. Mm, did you take that photo in a mirror? Right or left?

It's not reckoned to be an inflammatory condition, and hence doesn't respond to NSAIDs. It doesn't appear to be a lymph node; that's vital in the differentials. An annual blood count would be advisable.

I would recommend you do alternating ice and heat in the shower; an iceblock directly on the lump.

I mobilise the joint, keep an eye on the AC joint as it often affects the other end of the clavicle, and do a lot of soft tissue around the swollen lump. It helps, mostly quite considerably making it at least bearable, but won't cure it.

It may affect the brachial plexus giving you tingling in the arm; the first rib needs to be checked for a fixation by your chiropractor.

There's a page designated to Tietze's syndrome at Chiropractic Help; read and digest it. Then scour the net to see what else you can find.

May I use this photo please? I won't mention your name; it's a classic.

I hope this contributes.

Barrie Lewis

Comments for Swollen sterno clavicular joint

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 06, 2023
Swelling on my right collarbone
by: Victor

Hi Dr Lewis,
Many thanks for your answers to the questions above.
I have had a swelling on my right collarbone. It is reddish. It started three weeks ago. I noticed it when I felt pain whenever I smoked. I used to smoke half a pack a day, and at that time, I couldn't raise my hand because of the pain. I took antibiotic drugs for my tummy infection but the pain was still there. After completing the medications, I resumed smoking. The pain got worse and terrified me. I quit smoking. Since then, the pain is gone but my clavicle is still swolen.I can lift my hand as much as I like and there is no pain. I have asthma, sinus, and hypothyroidism. Thankjs so much for your kind advice.

Jul 04, 2021
Collarbone Lump
by: Anonymous

Hi there, i have had this hard lump at the end of my right collarbone towards my chest. I believe it has been there for some time now, maybe a year? I've told my mum about this but we both seem to think it might just be my bone and nothing serious because i'm only 15 years old. However i can sometimes feel pain along my right collar bone when i inhale but it's not an unbearable pain, just like an ache? Should i go to the doctors?

Jan 23, 2021
Same lump as pictured
by: Anonymous


I have had a lump come out on my sternoclavicular joint. Pain radiates across clavicle, swelling. X-ray shows it is not arthritis, waiting for a ct scan. This theory is very interesting and worth checking out, thank you for the information.

A pleasure, Tietze's syndrome certainly should be considered.

Barrie Lewis

Aug 06, 2020
I feel.like a lump under my collarbone it aches
by: Anonymous

I feel like there is a lump under my right collarbone, when both arms are relaxed my my side like I'm slouched over I can feel it aches. I have an enlarged thyroid on the right side scan was done with no nodules seen.

I have frequent heartburn and feels like food get stuck in my throat.

My arm and shoulder aches even to brush my teeth or pick up my 4 mth baby is difficult.

I also have severe sinus infections all the time and I feel I have anxiety at times with it. Sometimes my throat itches, my nose is constantly stuffy and I get a cough.

If I exercise or do strenuous activities I feel like my throat is closing up I cough and start wheezing. I inhale albuterol it's the only thing that helps sometimes along with benadryl and claritin.

I also have fibrocystic breast my sedimentation rate recently was at 46; could this lump under my right clavicle be cancer or my sed rate indicate a tumour?

There are many different things going on here, but they may well be interconnected.

Firstly what's needed is just good old fashioned palpation of all the areas where lymph nodes are typically found; in the groin, armpit, spleen and in the neck and above the collarbone. That's probably best done by your medical doctor.

The space beneath the collarbone is known as the thoracic outlet; it's where the artery and nerves to your arm pass. Restriction here can come from many causes and an ache in the arm is common. Ask a chiropractor to do Adson's test, and to examine your shoulder and neck at the same time.

Food getting stuck in your throat certainly needs a medical examination.

The heartburn likewise really needs to be followed up; a hiatus hernia and stomach infection need to be considered, and these are reported to cause sinus infections. Asthma too comes into the equation.

In addition, and this is a big one, I would buy a kefir starter and start to make your own probiotic; it's very inexpensive if you make it yourself. Take it daily for a month and then perhaps twice a week. It is a good thing to do anyway for your colon and it may just fix your heartburn.

Don't drink any liquid with or after meals for at least an hour. Avoid coffee after supper especially.

Obviously I am unable to examine you, so I am shooting in the dark. How is your weight do you have a lot of sugar in your food? Artificially sweetened beverages are big cause of gut problems too.

Refined carbs are public enemy number one. A big step to well-being is to start shunning cookies and cakes, white rice and the like.

A daily douche of your sinuses with salt water would help greatly.

I hope all this helps. Better health is a struggle for us all; follow these basics and it will certainly help overall but you need an expert opinion on some of these issues.

Barrie Lewis

May 24, 2020
Collar bone closest to my chest
by: Terrence

On one side of my collar bone by my chest at the end, it is bigger than the other side. I do not know why. I don't know how long it's been there but I notice it now, and I want to no the cause please.

Hello Terrence,
Tell me more please. Does it hurt, and is it red, swollen and inflamed?

Do you have any pain in your arm and what is your general health like; what tests have you had?

And so on.

Barrie Lewis

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Tietzes syndrome.

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Then forward it to a friend. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.