Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


Every time I raise my right arm up overhead, I feel and hear a sound like the bone is rubbing against something. There's no pain when I do it. What could be causing this?


You may have a shoulder impingement. This is when the rotator cuff tendon(s) get caught between the top of the shoulder and the bottom of the acromion. The acromion is a bone above the shoulder joint that curves over part of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and their tendons that surround the shoulder joint.

There are special tests that can be done to find out what is the exact problem. A doctor or physical therapist will move your arm and shoulder through a series of motions. Each test helps identify which soft tissue structures are involved. If the rotator cuff is involved the specific muscle can be identified.

If impingement isn't the cause of your symptoms, you may have a torn capsule or other structural problem. An MRI may be ordered to confirm the exam findings.

Jeremy S. Lewis, PT, PhD, et al. Subacromial Impingement Syndrome: The Effect of Changing Posture on Shoulder Range of Motion. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. February 2005. Vol. 35. No. 2. Pp. 72-87.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter