There are several components that make up the human shoulder. The bones of the shoulder include the clavicle, the scapula, and the humorous. There are muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as two very different types of cartilage. The first cartilage is white and found on the ends of the bones that meet in the joint. The other type of cartilage is called the labrum. The labrum is far less flexible, being coarse in nature. The labrum is like a dense threadwork.
When people slip and fall, many times they roll and land on a shoulder. The shoulder takes the blows when football players meet, pad to pad. In fact, the human shoulder takes a lot of wear and tear. This also makes it possible to lift things, push things out away from the body and act like a fulcrum in lifting those things above your head.
If you fall and you feel a pop in shoulder and now it hurts, it is likely that you’ve caused an injury that has created some swelling within the joint. Popping within the shoulder, however, can be a symptom of many different issues. Where there is an unusual popping that you have never heard before, accompanied by pain, you should seek out medical assistance in proper triage. If pain is severe, visiting an emergency clinic may be necessary. Bones could be broken. The clavicle is very painful to break.
Popping inside the joint itself could be ligaments rubbing against each other or against bone. This can happen for several reasons as well. In the case of a tendon or muscle being ripped away from the bone, or what is called the ‘insertion point’ you will likely need to have surgery to reattach the muscle/tendon. These sorts of injuries generally have a good prognosis if they are treated immediately. In some cases, it may be required to do some physical therapy after surgery, to increase range of motion and ensure that you will return to normal or as close to normal as possible.
If a tendon has torn, it could still cause clicking from swelling and rubbing against other tendons and bone. This may not need surgery. These types of injuries can heal but will require attention and doing what the doctor tells you to do. One of the most important things you will need to do is immobilize the joint and use it as little as possible. With the shoulder, this is a tall order. You don’t realize how much you use your shoulder until you cannot.
Icing the joint or using a cold compression wrap will be part of your therapy. This helps reduce the swelling in the also. You will likely be told that you can take ibuprofen for the inflammation. You may be instructed to sleep with your arm and shoulder propped or to sleep in a recliner. This will keep you more comfortable at night. Most irritations to the shoulder during the healing process will be at night, when lying flat or rolling onto the effected shoulder.