The Clicking Shoulder – When to Worry and What to do?

Is shoulder clicking or popping a serious matter? Well, it can be. Sometimes you hear a sound or have a cracking feeling when you lift or rotate your arms.

It may or may not be accompanied by pain. We tend to ignore it, stretch a little, take painkillers and generally forget about it. However, you must address the issue for all that your health is worth. We don’t want to make it worse, do we?

In medical terms, the clicking that you feel is called Crepitus. You can have crepitus in any joint but when it occurs in the shoulder, it may indicate several problems, mostly benign.

Often it is related to a person’s profession or hobby which inflicts extra burden on a particular muscle and is best tackled by a Dr. Tanveer Singh Bhutani sports injury specialist. However, it may not always be the case. But we surely do not want to delay treatment till it becomes serious.

How is it caused? What do you need to do and which are the symptoms that need immediate care?

For this, you must understand the working of the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Joint Structure

The human shoulder is an impressive and complex structure. It is the most mobile joint in the body that provides a tremendous range of motion.

Classified as a ball and socket joint, it is held together by a sophisticated system of tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage.

It provides mobility, stability, and range of motion to your arms.  Nonetheless, it is more prone to injury compared to other joints in the body.

Common causes of Clicking

Shoulder cracking can develop due to any of the following reasons:

  • Formation of gaseous pockets within the joint from the release of gases from internal fluids.
  • Inflammation of Bursa – the fluid sacs that cushion the joint. Mostly affects sportspersons.
  • Cartilage tear owing to trauma, overuse, or old age.
  • Rotator cuff injury-causing harm to muscles and tendons
  • Slipping out or dislocation of the ball and socket out of place.
  • Cartilage overgrown or degeneration
  • Osteoarthritis causing regression of cartilage
  • A clicking sound may also indicate a former fracture that hasn’t healed completely and produces a sound of friction

Remember, the above issues may or may not be accompanied by pain. Nonetheless, they do raise an alarm. Do you want to know the risks involved, if you ignore them?

How to Protect Yourself and Prevent Crepitus

Dr. Bhutani, Sports Injury Specialist at Eva Hospital, suggests a few guidelines to protect your shoulder joints that you can easily incorporate into your daily activities.

At Work :

Most people sit in front of a computer screen all the time while they work. So, keep your back absolutely straight and use a chair that keeps your knees evened with the hips.

Do not keep your hands in a position that raises from the elbow up. Keep the wrist at a lower level than the elbows. Take frequent breaks, move about, and stretch.

In the Gym & Swimming Pool:

The thumb rule is not to take your body parts for granted. Warm up the shoulder muscles before starting the activity and stretch them afterward to ease the tension.

Avoid the butterfly stroke. Freestyle is great, however, backstroke is extremely beneficial for this joint.

When doing the bench press in the gym, keep the elbows at an angle of 75 degrees to avoid injuring your shoulders.

While you Sleep:

The seven or eight hours that a person sleeps is a pretty long time to be in a particular posture. Sleeping on the side puts extra strain on shoulders and causes problems in the future. Lie on your back to avoid the extra weight-bearing.

The Risk of Ignoring the Clicking

Frozen shoulder is the major risk you carry by ignoring that clicking. Time can damage the structure further leading to adhesive capsulitis- its medical name. The tissues in the joint get scarred and tight, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

It becomes difficult for the patient to even perform simple tasks such as putting on clothes.

What you should do

Most people worry a lot when they experience something strange like cracking joints. Unfortunately, that’s all they do. Seeking timely medical help for rehabilitation is very important.

If you have a clicking shoulder accompanied by pain, get yourself diagnosed before it becomes serious. 

As they say, nip the problem in the bud! Make an appointment with Dr. Tanveer Bhutani for an expert consultation today, by calling our Ludhiana clinic.  He has great expertise with joint replacement and sports injuries too.

If you don’t have symptoms of pain or swelling, you may consult a physiotherapist, although no pain doesn’t mean it’s trivial. He can recommend specific exercises that you can perform on your own too.

For persistent pain, clicking, inflammation, and other indications make an appointment at your nearest ortho clinic immediately.

Addressing your condition early and following the doctor’s instructions meticulously brings lasting benefits.