Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 17 December 2020


This is a tutorial on the sternoclavicular joint. The sternoclavicular joint is this joint here between the proximal end of the clavicle and the manubrium of the sternum. You've also got the first costal cartilage that is involved in this joint.


This joint is a synovial and saddle-shaped joint. I'm just going to isolate the structures involved and we'll take a look at them in closer detail.

You’ve got three articulating surfaces in this joint. You've got the proximal end of the clavicle, you've got the clavicular notch of the manubrium and you've got the first costal cartilage.


As this joint is a synovial joint, you've got a joint capsule which surrounds this joint and the articulating surfaces. This joint capsule is lined by a synovial membrane and it's strengthened by ligaments.


In between the clavicular notch of the manubrium and the proximal end of the clavicle, you've got a small fibrocartilaginous disc.   You’ve got an articular disc which splits the cavity into two compartments.   You’ve got this fibrocartilaginous articular disc sitting in its articular cavity and separating it into two compartments.


Strengthening this joint capsule, you've got four ligaments. The way to think of this is just to think of the structures that are involved and the names are logically named.   We know that we've got a costal cartilage involved, we've got the manubrium of the sternum involved and we've got the clavicle involved.


The first ligament I'm going to talk about is this ligament here. This ligament connects both clavicles together, so it's called the interclavicular ligament.


And then the next ligament is this ligament here which connects the clavicle to the manubrium sternum. This is called the sternoclavicular ligament. It's got two parts. It's got the part which you can see here from the anterior view.   It’s got an anterior part. And if I rotate around to the back, it's got a posterior part, so you've got an anterior and a posterior sternoclavicular ligament.


And the final ligament is this ligament here connecting the costal cartilage to the inferior surface of the clavicle. This is called the costoclavicular ligament.


You’ve got four ligaments stabilizing this joint. You've got one ligament connecting the two clavicles, the interclavicular ligament; you've got two ligaments, anterior and posteriorly connecting the sternum to the clavicle, and this is called the sternoclavicular ligament; and  you've got the ligament connecting the inferior surface of the clavicle to the costal cartilage, and this is called the costoclavicular ligament.


In terms of the movements that you get at this joint, they're fairly limited. They're mainly occurring in the anterior and posterior plane and in the vertical plane.   You get some anterior and posterior movement, but you've also got some superior and inferior movement. And then you get a very small amount of rotational movement.


That's a quick rundown of the sternoclavicular joint.