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Weightlifter's Shoulder (Distal Clavicular Osteolysis)


If overuse has led to pain in the front of your shoulder, you may have an injury we call "weightlifter's shoulder." It's a type of damage that most often affects the end of the clavicle (commonly called the "collarbone").


This injury is caused by repetitive stress. It can happen if you do a lot of heavy lifting or other shoulder motions. This causes tiny fractures in the end of the clavicle at the shoulder's AC joint. But before these fractures have a chance to heal, you stress the bone again. Your injury gets worse and worse. The bone begins to break down and dissolve.


If you have this injury, you feel an aching pain in the front of your shoulder. This can happen during and after activity. When you press on your shoulder or reach across your body, it hurts. It hurts to lie on your injured side. This can keep you awake at night.


Treatment options include rest and changing your activity so that you don't continue to stress the bone. Pain relievers and ice may help. If these don't help, your shoulder can be repaired with surgery. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that's right for you.

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