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Shoulder Injury


It starts with a backpack during your school years, to carrying your child, or being a professional athlete. Whatever it might be, your shoulders take a beating over the years whether you’re an elite Volleyball Player or Construction Worker. This is why a shoulder injury, shoulder popping, or shoulder clicking are so common. Pops and clicks can just be noises or a cause for concern.

The Shoulder

This joint is a ball-and-socket design that gives a great range of motion. The socket is shaped like a golf tee, where it is flat on top, and this can make the upper arm bone slip out of it easily. Thus why the shoulder joint gets dislocated more than any other joint.

Popping and Clicking

Having sounds come from your shoulders is common and normal, if they are painless. But if you are having shoulder pain accompanied by sounds that is an indicator something might be wrong. Think back and try to remember if there was an incident where you could have sustained a shoulder injury. It could be from lifting weights or playing catch. Even if it was not a significant injury, your shoulder could be aggravated from repeated stress to it, even if it is every day wear and tear.

Shoulder Injuries that cause popping or clicking:

  • Rotator Cuff Tears: this shoulder injury often occurs from sports or activities that involve a lot of lifting your hands over your head. This can include swimming, weight lifting, tennis, or baseball. Pain is the most common symptom when you try to raise your arm. And that is when you will hear a click or popping sound.
  • SLAP Tear: SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. This is an injury to the labrum of the shoulder, the ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. Trauma or repetitive shoulder motion cause this injury. The main symptom is a sensation of locking, popping, catching, or grinding.
  • Instability: this can mean your shoulder is completely dislocated or it is slipping in and out of place. If it is slipping partway out of the socket, this is called subluxation. Mix this with a popping or clicking noise, then you have a medical problem. You will feel intense pain, bruising, swelling, and weakness.


  • Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories is how most physicians will begin your treatment plan. Some might recommend that you to buy a sling and wear it for a couple weeks until your shoulder injury starts to heal.
  • Physical Therapy is not uncommon for shoulder injuries. This will help strengthen the four muscles in the rotator cuff and give you back full range of motion.
  • A cortisol shot or oral steroids could be prescribed depending on the severity of your shoulder injury.
  • If surgery is required, it is possible you have a complete rotator cuff tear or to repair a SLAP tear.


Don’t always assume popping or clicking means there is something wrong. But don’t ignore it if you are experiencing pain. If you think you sustained a shoulder injury and it is not healing properly contact an Orthopedic Physician at IMS Orthopedics to get a full examination.