Jock Doc

Jock Doc: A pop in shoulder can mean injury from weight-lifting

Q. I was lifting weights and felt a pop and a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I stopped lifting and didn’t any significant swelling. However, whenever I flex my arm or rotate my hand upward, I develop a sharp pain and click in the left shoulder. I have been able to work out with some light weights but have not been able to go back to my regular workout routine over the last month. Do you think this is something that can heal and when can I go back to working out?

A: I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist as you may have injured your subscapularis tendon "internal rotator of the shoulder" or a longhead of the biceps tendon, where it sits in the groove just below the shoulder joint. Other possible injuries to the shoulder could be to the pectoralis major tendon or rotator cuff tendon itself.

In addition to your physical examination, your doctor likely will order X-rays and probably an MRI scan. Tears of the subscapularis tendon or instability of the longhead of the biceps in its groove usually require surgery to correct the problem. Complete tears of the pectoralis major tendon or rotator cuff tendon in a relatively young person also require surgery to achieve a satisfactory result.

The type of injury would determine whether physical therapy, rest, modification of your workout routine or surgery would be necessary. I do recommend you get seen quickly by a physician as many of these injuries respond better to early diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to