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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Get popping sound in shoulder and arm. Do i have any medical problem?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1975
Answered : 72 Questions
Hello. I am a Los Angeles resident who has had a repeated problem with my left shoulder and arm. When I move the arm forward up away from my body and then backwards it feels like a muscle/ligament/ or tendon moves over the back portion of my arm/shoulder and a popping sound can be heard. At times this has incapacitated my entire left arm's movement and was extremely painful. I use to be able to do handstands and walk on my hands but now my left shoulder can not take the weight and will hurt and give out if i try.
RECENT EXAMPLE: I had just shot a new compoundbow for the first time and the recoil caught me off guard. The left arm that was holding the bow was quickly popped backward and i felt movement in the upper arm/shoulder until my arm rested painfully off my side more forwad than my right arm. After cursing and walking around massaging it i slowly worked the arm back into its' natural place and could control it again. As it moved out from being stuck there was another soft pop and pain that occured. I then got a bow with less recoil and shot well for the next 45mins, and yes my shoulder and upper back of the arm are sore today. What medical problems could cause an issue like this, and what steps/procedures could i take to solve this issue in the los angeles area? Thank you for your time.
Mon, 24 Dec 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Rajesh Gajwani 1 hour later

After reading your symptoms, I feel that you may have developed a ligament tear on the left shoulder, which is causing the pain on movement. It may also have resulted in partial subluxation of the joint leading to the popping sound when the shoulder is moved at a particular angle or position.

I would strongly recommend you to visit an orthopedic surgeon for a thorough examination and also a diagnostic MRI of left shoulder for a definite diagnosis.

You may start with painkillers, hot fomentation along with application of local topical analgesic gels or sprays for symptomatic relief. Also, avoid lifting heavy weights or standing on your hands for a while as it will put undue pressure on your shoulder causing further damage.
If you have any more queries, I’ll be happy to help.

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