Seventeen patients with shoulder pain and radiographic involvement of the sternoclavicular or sternocostal joints, or both, are described. Eleven of these patients also had palmoplantar pustulosis. Histological examination of the joints showed chronic and subacute inflammation, increased osteoblastic activity, and cartilage degeneration. Propionibacterium acnes was cultured in tissue samples from seven of the 15 biopsied patients, a finding at variance with those of previous reports. The possibility that sternoclavicular arthro-osteitis is of infectious origin should be the subject of further investigation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may provide pain relief, possibly owing to their inhibitory action on osteoblasts. In cases of severely restricted movement or severe pain resection of the medial clavicle may be considered.
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