Distal Clavicle Osteolysis

Distal clavicle osteolysis is a painful disorder of the end of the clavicle (colar bone). Repetitive overhead activity, weightlifting or throwing can lead to microtrauma to the acromioclavicular joint and osteolysis of the end of the clavicle. Distal clavicle osteolysis causes pain in the acromioclavicular joint which is worsened by overhead motion and reaching across the body. It is diagnosed based on your physicians physical examination and xrays which show spurring, sclerosis and narrowing of acromioclavicular joint

Treatment options for distal clavicle osteolysis include both non-operative treatment and operative treatment options. Most patients are initially treated with NSAIDS, physical therapy, and activity modifications. Injections of local anesthetic and steriod medications into the acromioclavicular joint are often helpful as well. People who fail to respond to non operative treatment may need surgery.

The surgical treatment for distal clavicle osteolysis is resection of the distal clavicle. This can be done arthroscopically or open. The potential complications of arthroscopic excision include but are not limited to: incomplete relief of pain, incomplete return of function or motion, incomplete return to sport, need for further surgery, clavicle instability, infections, stiffness, weakness, ectopic calcification, reactive bursitis, clavicle or acromion fracture, CRPS, nerve or vascular injury, fluid extravasation, chondrolysis, hematoma, chondral injury / arthritis, DVT/PE, and the risk of anesthesia including heart attack, stroke and death. Complications are uncommon and the most patients are satisfied with the results of surgery.

Following surgery people generaly use a sling for comfort and begin pendulum range of motion exercises. They follow-up with there surgeon 10-14 days after surgery. Physical therapy or a home exercise program focused on range of motion and strengthening is started. Light free weights may begin 3 weeks after surgery. Patients should avoid cross-body adduction for 6 weeks. 6 weeks after surgery patients may begin progressive sport specific activity. People generally return to full activity and sports 3 months after surgery.

Further information about distal clavicle osteolysis can be found at the following sites:

Every person and their particular circumstances are different so the treatment for your shoulder may be different than those discussed. Please read this information carefully. Write down any questions that you have about your shoulder and its treatment and discuss them with your orthopaedic surgeon.

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