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Pectoral girdle joints and ligaments

Other Terms: Ligaments of the pectoral girdle


Unlike the strong, stable pelvic girdle, the pectoral girdle is comparatively slight in structure and weakly united to the axial skeleton via ligaments. In fact, the only joint formed between the pectoral girdle and the axial skeleton is the modest sternoclavicular joint with its associated ligaments. The clavicle contributes the greater surface to the sternoclavicular joint and it articulates with both the superior aspect of the first costal cartilage and a superolateral notch in the manubrium of the sternum. This ellipsoidal joint exhibits a fair range of movement. A complete articular disc divides the joint into synovial spaces. At its lateral extremity, the clavicle also articulates with the acromion of the scapula, where a diverse group of ligaments connect the two bones. The acromioclavicular joint is a planar joint with a small range of motion. It is not uncommon for the ligaments at this joint to be damaged and torn leading to what is referred to as a shoulder separation.


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