Baby Shoulder Popping When Picked Up

Baby Shoulder Popping When Picked Up

Picking up a little one for the first time is often a cause for celebration, but the sound of a ‘pop’ from a baby’s shoulder can be disconcerting. Fortunately, it is relatively common, and this piece will provide an overview of what triggers it, the symptoms, and available treatments.

What is Baby Shoulder Popping When Picked Up?

When an infant is scooped up, a popping sound from the shoulder joint may be heard. This strange phenomenon occurs due to the movement of the ligaments and tendons that support the shoulder joint, sometimes accompanied by an unsteady sensation.

When the popping sound is not coming from the hips or making a clunking noise, it’s often nothing to worry about.

The medical term for this type of sound is crepitus, which refers to the noises that are produced by muscle contraction. But, if this kind of sound occurs in the hips and has more of a thud than a click, it may be something serious.

In such cases, consulting a physician is advisable; one possibility is congenital hip dislocation. Another source could be pressure-induced air escaping from the lungs which creates a trapped split between the joints and causes a popping sound. Whatever the underlying cause may be, it’s best to be vigilant.


Is It Normal for a Baby’s Shoulder to Pop?

It may come as a shock, but it’s common for young children to have their shoulder joints crackle and pop in the same way one’s knuckles do when cracked. It is worth considering that the shoulder is a complicated area of the skeleton where the head of the long bone can become stuck.

Upon further examination, it appears the noise could be caused by gas leaving its joint. Researchers suggest that such noises are created when soft tissues (i.e., tendons) rub against hard tissues (i.e., bones), thus producing friction.

Is The Popping Sound a Sign of Growth?

Though the growth rate of babies often increases rapidly, it follows a particular set of rules. As they grow, their bodies may not expand in tandem, causing the tendons to lag behind the bones, leading to a popping sound in joints like the shoulder, elbows, wrists and knees.

Though these sounds are to be expected, parents should take the child to a doctor if the pop comes with pain or is heard in the hip joint.

When Should Baby Shoulder Popping Cause Concern?

It is typical for babies to make popping noises as they move around, and so long as there is no evidence of the child experiencing pain, it is perfectly safe to relax. That said, certain circumstances may require further attention.

For example, a cracking sound in the hips may indicate a hip dislocation and should thus be investigated by an orthopedic surgeon or pediatrician – an X-ray might even be necessary.

The same applies if the baby’s shoulders or elbows have become dislocated due to over-vigorous handling; swelling, pain, and redness are telltale signs. It is important to remain watchful however, as some infants are not particularly vocal about their distress and may display less obvious symptoms.

Tips For Preventing Your Baby’s Shoulders From Popping When Picked Up

In many cases, it’s clear that popping noises are only transient and innocuous. Yet, it is critical to take certain precautionary measures in order to prevent possible uncomfortable rubbing later on. Some of the steps you should take include:


Deep tissue massages are essential for the overall health of your baby. An hour of skin nurturing with top-notch baby oil should keep their joints limber and function properly.


In addition to providing nourishment from breastfeeding, exposing your infant to the morning sunlight for at least half an hour helps produce Vitamin D, which is necessary for absorbing calcium into their body as well as fortifying their bones and avoiding rickets.

Careful Handling

All too often, we hear popping sounds emanating during physical development, but we must be mindful when handling our babies with gentleness and care. Undoubtedly it is only natural to worry, yet these noises are mostly normal and safe; however, it’s wise to exercise caution to preclude any issues arising in the future.


Is it normal for newborns bones to crack?

Craniotabes is an all-too-familiar condition for infants, with one-third of newborns experiencing this phenomenon – especially premature ones. Though generally harmless, craniotabes can point to more serious underlying conditions like rickets and osteogenesis imperfecta.

When should I be worried about bone cracking?

If there is discomfort accompanying the popping or crunching in your joints, it’s best to seek medical attention. Osteoarthritis could be the reason behind this unpleasant sensation; it is characterized by a breakdown of cartilage that leaves bones exposed and causes inflammation.

Why does my child’s joints click?

Bouts of crepitus, often harmless, can arise in the synovial fluid due to Nitrogen pockets that get compressed during particular movements. Despite its commonality, there is nothing to fear.