PT on the Net Research

Shoulder Popping During Exercise


I have a client that has clicking or popping in the shoulder during exercise. Can you help me with some exercises or a solution to remedy this problem?


As with any musculoskeletal issue that requires an evaluation or exercise to clarify uncertainty, if your client is experiencing popping/clicking sounds in their shoulder, it is imperative to refer them out to medical professional! Next, the area of the popping/clicking will directly relate to the type of situation your client MAY be experiencing. Since no specific area was noted in the question, we'll briefly review a couples of possible scenarios.

If the popping/clicking is coming from the front of the shoulder, it MAY be movement of the biceps tendon in the intertubecular groove where it sits between the greater and lesser tubercle of the humerus. This can result from a protracted (forward and internally rotated) shoulder that may be caused by a tight latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major/minor and bicep. Performing a proper flexibility protocol for these muscles can allow for proper joint motion and decrease excessive stress on the joint tissues. Until they regain proper flexibility, they will not regain proper joint motion.

If the popping/clicking is coming from the top of the shoulder blade around the area of the upper trapezius, it MAY be the result of the levator scapula tendon rubbing on the shoulder blade. Proper flexibility of this muscle and the sternocleidomastoid, upper trapezius, scalenes, latissiumus dorsi and pectoralis muscles MAY help restore proper motion and decrease the noise.

These are only generalizations that MAY be occurring based upon a general question. Please seek medical attention if this does not work.