My shoulder makes a popping sound, should I be worried?

My shoulder makes a popping sound, should I be worried?


I found your classes on line and love them. But, I was wondering if in a stretch your joints pop, is that causing damage? Does that mean a stretch is gone too far? My shoulders pop all the time and I don’t want to make them worse.

Answer from Justine:

In classic Viniyoga style, I have to answer with ‘It depends.’  If you are doing hip circles and here a ‘thunk’ that sounds a bit like a pop, it is often a ligament sliding over a bone – as long as it doesn’t hurt, there is nothing to worry about.  Sometimes a joint ‘pop’ is actually air/gas leaving the joint, also not necessarily a problem.  With shoulders, as they are the most mobile joint in the body with the widest Range of Motion (ROM) – what we have in mobility, we give up some stability.  If your shoulders are hypermobile and can pop in and out of the socket, you don’t want to let them pop out, as that will affect the stability of the joint…..keep the shoulder in the joint and don’t go into hyperextension, say in down dog (even with a chair) – meaning, keep your shoulders in line with your ears and don’t let the arms go into a plane behind your head. However, if your shoulders are popping, more like a crunchy sound, that may just be crepitus and scar tissue crackling. Be careful especially if the shoulders are popping in weight bearing poses.


Crepitus /ˈkrɛpɪtəs/ (also termed crepitation) is a medical term to describe the grating, crackling or popping sounds and sensations experienced under the skin and joints or a crackling sensation due to the presence of air in the subcutaneous tissue.