Incidence of sports-related sternoclavicular joint dislocations in the United States over the last two decades

Alexis B. Sandler*, Michael D. Baird, John P. Scanaliato, Ayden L.W. Harris, Sorana Raiciulescu, Clare K. Green, John C. Dunn, Nata Parnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND Epidemiological understanding of acute sternoclavicular (SC) dislocations secondary to sports across the United States is poorly defined. AIM To identify and assess epidemiological trends of SC dislocations occurring secondary to sports-related mechanisms across United States over the past two decades. METHODS This cross-sectional, descriptive epidemiological study evaluates epidemiological trends of SC dislocations from sports that present to emergency departments (EDs) across the United States. Data were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database spanning two decades. Data on incidence, patient demographics, mechanisms of injury, dislocation types, incident locales, and patient dispositions were collected. RESULTS 1622 SC dislocations occurred nationwide from 2001 to 2020 [incidence = 0.262/1000000 people, confidence interval (CI) = 0.250-0.275], comprising 0.1% of shoulder/upper trunk dislocations. Most patients were male (91%, n = 1480) and aged 5-17 (61%, n = 982). Football, wrestling, and biking were the most frequently implicated sports, with contact sports responsible for 59% of athletic injuries (n = 961). Recreational vehicle-related sports injuries, such as all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, and mopeds accounted for 7.8% of all injuries (n = 126), with dirt bikes specifically comprising 3.7% (n = 61). Ultimately, 82% were discharged from the ED (n = 1337), 12% were admitted (n = 194), and 6% were transferred (n = 90). All recorded posterior dislocations were admitted or transferred from the ED. Patients sustaining SC dislocations from contact sports had a significantly increased risk of hospital admission or transfer rather than discharge from the ED as compared to patients whose injuries were from non-contact sports (incidence rate ratio = 1.46, CI: = 1.32-1.61, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION SC dislocations from sports continue to be rare with a stably low incidence over the past two decades, likely comprising a smaller proportion of shoulder dislocations than previously thought. Contact sports are a frequent source of injury, especially among school-aged and teenage males. Most patients are discharged directly from the ED; however, a substantial number are hospitalized, many of which had documented posterior dislocations. Ultimately, understanding the epidemiology and mechanism-related trends of acute SC dislocations is important given the potential severity of these injuries, concentration in a specific population, and uncertainty linked to rare presentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Orthopedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Contact sports
  • Epidemiology
  • Football
  • Sternoclavicular dislocation
  • Sternoclavicular joint


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