Injury Breakdown: Examining SC Joint Of Mets’ Heroic Mike Baxter

By Abby Sims
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We’ve already heard that Mets’ outfielder Mike Baxter paid a price for saving Johan Santana’s no-hitter on Saturday.

The Associated Press reported the Mets as saying Baxter displaced the sternoclavicular (SC) joint – between his right clavicle (collarbone) and sternum (breastbone) – and tore costal (rib) cartilage (which attach the ribs to the sternum) on his right side. The impact against the padded outfield wall was actually to Baxter’s left shoulder, as he heroically prevented Yadier Molina from getting an extra base hit in the seventh inning.

The Mets expect the injury to take about six weeks to heal. Naturally, though, as is generally the case with sports injuries, the expected recovery time does not generally translate to a return to full competition. Healing and rehab are a process that can’t be accelerated beyond the body’s ability to safely respond and progress.

You can view a diagram of an SC joint separation here.

The SC Joint

The SC joint provides the connection between the shoulder girdle and the trunk and, though it permits only limited movement, it is involved in most movements that occur at the shoulder.

If you place your fingers where your collarbone meets your sternum and then elevate or depress your shoulder, you will feel the movement that takes place at the SC joint and understand the importance of stability in this region. This is also the case if you move your shoulder backward or forward, or move your arm in a circular motion.

The SC joint dislocates anteriorly (forward) far more often than posteriorly (backward), and in some instances requires surgery in order to reposition the clavicle. The integrity of the ligament connecting the clavicle to the first rib is paramount to preserving the stability of the region.

Oftentimes the SC joint remains prominent after healing and, though this is not significant of outcome, some do report long-term pain or loss of function after SC dislocation.

Follow Abby on Twitter @abcsims.

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