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Clicking or crunching in the shoulder can be caused by a number of things.
Most people fear that the clicking is caused by bone hitting bone. However, thankfully nowadays this is rare. If you have this, it is likely that for many years you have been suffering severe pain and movement restriction. If this is you, please go and see your GP for a referral to an Orthopaedic consultant as soon as possible.
If you felt a click with a sudden or traumatic injury like a car accident or a fall you must see an Osteopath, Physiotherapist or doctor as soon as possible for a full assessment because you may have damaged a vital ligament or bone.
If the noise is not painful it is most likely to be air pockets popping with the changes of pressure that movement causes inside the fluid of the shoulder joints. A clicking shoulder can also be caused by small particles swishing around in the fluid of the shoulder joints.
Painful clicking can be caused by soft tissue damage in the joint like cartilage that has been worn away or has broken off and is floating around in the joint. Clicking or clunking can also be caused by tendons or scar tissue slipping over bony prominences. A common cause of painful shoulder clicking is shoulder impingement syndrome – please click on the link to learn more.
Painful clicking in the shoulder in sports people is a ‘SLAP’ lesion – a tear to the labrum – outer ‘lip’ of the shoulder socket and this requires surgery.
In summary – if your clicking shoulder is also painful you need to get it checked out, but if it is not painful you need not worry about it. If in any doubt please get in touch!
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