I'm a newbie when it comes to running. I usually run for about 2-3 miles 3x a week for the past 6 months.

If I've skipped too many workouts (i.e. haven't ran in a month), I experience pain in my collarbone around the first mile marker. Or if I haven't skipped any, but try to run farther than I usually do, the pain occurs.

It usually goes away after another mile. However, its really uncomfortable for that mile. What could be the cause of this?

  • For what its worth: the collarbone is the Clavicle bone
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 29, 2011 at 18:38
  • Also FWIW: It's muscles/tissue near the bone that hurt, not the bone itself. Jul 29, 2011 at 21:14
  • This is interesting; never heard anything like it. Got me curious. Jul 30, 2011 at 2:23
  • both clavicles? just one side? always the same side? Jul 30, 2011 at 2:25
  • Used to happen to me all the time, try stretching your upper body before your run!
    – user13912
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:42

5 Answers 5

  • Any type of chest pain when exerting is worth checking out with your doctor if you have any reason to suspect heart problems. (Probably not your case, but just a cautionary note.)

  • Clavicular pain may indicate a problem with the bone that is aggravated by the jarring or impact of running.

  • Likely cause: Accessory breathing muscles, such as the scalenes, attach to the first rib which lies under the clavicle. If you are breathing with the upper chest, neck and accessory muscles, these muscles can pull up on the first rib, which narrows the space for nerves and muscles. If you have tight scalenes, poor posture (forward head, elevated shoulders etc.) and are using your accessory muscles to breathe rather than the diaphragm, that may be a cause of your pain. When the pain occurs, try relaxing your breathing, using your diaphragm rather than your upper chest and neck muscles to see if this makes a difference.

  • If tight scalenes are contributing to the problem, here is a video that demonstrates how to gently stretch the 3 parts of the scalenes. As for your posture, imagine that your head is light like a balloon so that it gently lifts and elongates your neck without forcing.

  • As for the iPhone, an armband and earbuds would allow you to keep your head and neck more in neutral. If you are holding the phone, you tend to tense the muscles of the neck and arm on that side.

Hope that helps.


Bad posture can cause you to lean over and put extra stress on your next and shoulders. Also some people tense up when they run and do not relax.

Some people find holding objects in their hand helps them relax their upper body. The object in your hand can be as small as a stick or as large as a water bottle.

How can you solve the problems? Light massage and heating pad/ice will help loosen it up.

Exercises to help build the back and core muscles can help your posture.

  • 1
    again, yes, i certainly have bad posture (five generations of slumped shoulders). I hold an iPhone in one hand while i run, but in the hand opposite the pain. I'll try switching the iPhone to the other hand more often. And fixing my posture, of course.
    – Andrea
    Jul 30, 2011 at 1:02

Could it simply be bad posture or your muscles supporting your head aren't strong enough and get sore.

I don't know exactly what muscle you'd need to work though.

  • 4
    Wouldn't you agree this answer would have been better as a comment?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 29, 2011 at 19:55
  • definitely I have bad posture in general. I haven't checked my posture while running, but i have no reason to believe that it's magically better when i run. I'll try making a video.
    – Andrea
    Jul 30, 2011 at 1:00

This is the result of simple oxygen deprivation and a little bit to do with posture. Try leaning forward a bit when running. To help with the oxygen problem, breathe in deeply once in a while when you're on your run. This will stretch out your diaphragm, your lungs, and your muscles along your pecs and collarbone. Also, it helps to keep your breathing controlled and patternized. Picture your breathes as a pendulum, it just goes back and forth, back and forth. Hope it feels better!

  • 2
    Do you have supporting link to your answer?
    – Freakyuser
    Jan 30, 2014 at 2:30

I get shoulder pain on hilly runs, always my left shoulder, and sometimes it sent me into a panic because I thought I was getting a heart attack! My physio suggested it could be 'referred pain' due to the intense pounding my body was going through when running down steep hills, interestingly it only happened at the bottom of a really sharp hill. Apparently your internal organs (intestines etc) are attached to the same nerve that travels up to the shoulder area, and any jolting/disturbance in the abdomen area can cause pain in the shoulder. I've had my shoulder checked and no one can find anything wrong with it, so it makes sense to me! :)

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