Jump to Navigation

Shoulder pain ball lawsuits due to cartilage damage

Austin Kirk

Intra-articular infusion pain pumps used following some arthroscopic shoulder surgeries are often referred to as a “pain ball” or “pain relief ball”.  These devices are used to deliver medication directly to the shoulder joint to ease post-surgical pain.  However, recent studies have suggested that use of such pain management systems could cause permanent shoulder cartilage damage.  The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential shoulder pain ball lawsuits nationwide due to the manufacturers’ failure to warn about this serious complication.

The On-Q pain ball is an external pump which has been used by some doctors following arthroscopic shoulder surgery instead of narcotics.  The device administers a continuous, regulated flow of medication through a specially designed catheter which is put in place by the doctor or nurse.  It is often left in place for 2-3 days until it is no longer needed.

Many doctors used the shoulder pain ball because the it prevents the patient from changing or tampering with the flow of medication.  The shoulder pain ball is also designed to decrease breakthrough pain and shorten the amount of time it could take to return to normal activities. 

Unfortunately, the use of a shoulder pain ball to deliver a combination of bupivacain and epinephrine following arthroscopic shoulder surgery has been linked to the development of a rare, debilitating condition known as post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, or PAGCL.  The condition is associated with the permanent deterioration of shoulder cartilage.

The loss of shoulder cartilage often does not become noticeable for several months after the arthroscopic surgery.  As activities are increased and the arm is used more, popping, clicking or grinding in the shoulder joint may become apparent.  The condition is extremely painful and results in severe limitations on the use of the arm.  In many cases, individuals who used a shoulder pain ball require a total shoulder replacement.


The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent individuals throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis or cartilage damage after using a shoulder pain ball.  Lawsuits are being pursued against the manufacturers of these pain management systems for failing to warn consumers and the medical community about the potential problems which could result from use of their device.

If you, a friend or family member have experienced problems following use of a should pain ball to manage pain after arthroscopic surgery, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

29 Comments Add Your Comments

  1. Lisa Clark says:

    I had shoulder surgery in 2004 for impingement syndrome by arthroscopic surgery and I had a pain pump. Then 1 year later I had another surgery for a biceps tear and my rotator cuff, once again I had another pain pump. For most of my time I have had a lot of discomfort and pain. The popping that I have is really scary too. This has been all on the same shoulder.

  2. Katherine says:

    I,also have arthroscopicc surgery in 2004 for a rotary cuff tear and I had the pain pump to.THEN LESS THAN A YEAR Ihad another on the same shoulder and my shoulder isn’t any better I also experience popping,hurting lack of moment.Right now I’AM a nervous wreck.I ALSO HAVE SEVERE PAIN IN MY RIBS LEGS AND SHOULDERS.

  3. MDL petition for shoulder pain pump “class action” has been filed | Legal News & Updates Blog - Saiontz, Kirk & Miles says:

    […] Shoulder pain pump lawsuits have been filed throughout the United States on behalf of individuals who have developed a condition known as post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis or PAGCL. The use of intra-articular pain pumps to deliver medication to the shoulder after a shoulder arthroscopy has been linked to the painful and debilitating condition where the cartilage in the shoulder joint progessively deteriorates. […]

  4. I also had my first shoulder surgery in 2004 for a bone spur, I had the pain pump used then. I still continued having pain so I had another shoulder surgery in 2005 and it was found I had a labral tear and I had loose shoulder so they took and moved my shoulder socket over and anchored all of that into my bone. Again, I had the pain pump. I still had all kinds of problems with pain, stiffness, and grinding so I had another surgery so they could remove some scar tissue and to try and clean it up, but guess what they foud. That I know have grade 4 arthritis in my shoulder I hardly have any cartiledge left , but 2 years ago my last surgery there was no sign of any type of arthritis and all this deteroation. I am in constant pain and have to take vicodin and muscle relaxers. I also have had to miss days of work because of the condition will flare up some days at its worse. I sure hope something comes out of this, I am only 41 years old and now I have all these problems. Not to mention I will have to have a shoulder replacement somwhere down the line.I’ve already proceeded with this with these lawyers here and I hope their working hard a helping all of us who are in this position. good luck to all of you I hope you get something out of this and I don’t mean just money I hope that something can happen to where they will be able to fix as much as they can with your shoudler. I thought I was the only dealing with this, and I kinda felt like people at my work thought I was over reacting but this is the stuff they need to read about so the know Im not being a big ole puss about this. Good luck everyone and keep us all updated on your condition. Thanks again, Lisa

  5. I had shoulder surgery in February, 2007 to remove bone spurs. In early 2008, I started experiencing sharp shoulder pain and stiffness again, so I made another appointment with my orthopedic surgeon and he told me that I had “frozen shoulder” and scar tissue. I had orthroscopic surgery in April, 2008 to remove the scar tissue and for shoulder manipulation, but I have gotten no relief. Before I had the scope, I asked the surgeon about the cracking and popping and he said it was the scar tissue. Well, the cracking and popping are still there, and maybe even worse. I am still in constant pain. I had the pain pump with my initial surgery, so when I saw the ad on TV about people experiencing health problems after having the pain pump, I was shocked. However, I feel some relief, too, to realize that this isn’t in my head and maybe there is some valid reason for all the pain.

  6. I had shoulder suregery to remove a bone spur and repair a rotator cuff tear in May of this year. A week and a half after my surgery my muscles in my arm and my upper left chest are swollen and as my physical therapist describes it are experiencing somehing called, “Distonia”. They are frozen. I also have numbness in my upper arm to my incision. I was given the pain ball and no one seem to be able to explain these symptoms I am having. Has anyone experienced this? I cant say about the popping but the pain is extreme if I use my arm at all and I am unable to raise my arm at all from the shoulder due to the muscles being froze. I’m just searching for an answer and thought maybe someone out there may be able to point me in the right direction. And yes I did have the pain ball.

  7. I have been told that even though I have had progressive problems after the pain pump in my shoulder, that I don’t fit the description for this lawsuit. The pain pump was not placed in the shoulder joint but the ac joint. This is so frustrating as my dr feels the medication leaked into the joint and caused my new cartilage breakdown problems

  8. I had Left shoulder rotater cuff and impingement syndrome along with bone spurs, I have not ever healed from this surgery. I live in pain from the weight of my arm hanging on the shoulder joint.
    I recently had a total shoulder evaluation for a VA Claim. The Doctor that Read the MRI’s said My shoulder looked like I was 70 years of age. I am only 42? I had the Pain Ball with that surgery.I also had my right done in the early 90’s with a much more involved sugery on that side That healed much better.I did not have a pain ball on that side.

  9. yes, i have experience post surgical deterioratioin of the cartilage after using the pain pump. i would like more information. thank you.

  10. I have had 3 shoulder surgeries now and had the On-Q Pain Buster ball as well. I am wondering if its use caused more damage or weakening than I would have had otherwise. This really concerns me.

  11. I had RT shoulder operated on 6-19-06 then left shoulder 9-19-07
    Now my neck is grunding and poping continuously and my right shoulder is grinding and popping severly.
    I back to the doctor and he told me my neck is the problem and sent me to his friend next door at the spine clinic. He had me take shot in the neck to block the pain to see if the arm and shoulder pain would go away. It didn’t work. The spine doctor called me personaly on the phone while I was on my way over to see him to save me a trip he said but he told me that if that didn’t work then I need to go bacck to my shoulder doctor. Funny thing that my shoulder doctor called me personaly and sid that there is nothing he can do for me because there is not much to work with.

  12. I am 51 also and very active

  13. In December of 06 i had my left shoulder operated on cause of it sublexing and bone spurs. so i had a pain buster put in then in 4/17/07 i had my right shoulder done and another pain buster. finally in 8/07/07 i had my left shoulder done again and i got another pain buster and i still have popping grinding my neck is popping i cant barely do anything above my head cause of pain.

  14. i was wondering if this pain ball situation is linked to knee joint as well.
    i tore both acl’s (right and left knee’s)on 06-13-03.had surgory on 07-13-03 and also 10-30-03 both used a pain ball and both have clicking and have sience retorn my right acl and mcl

  15. I had shoulder surgery on Oct 17 2008 and had the pain ball. I am still having pain in the front and back of my underarm where they repaired a couple of muscle tears. I am assuming that is what the pain is from? I can use my arm but it is painful.

  16. isaiah b. says:

    i had a pain ball placed inside of me after i had or actually after both of my hernia surgeries and i had scar tissue problems with it only after my second hernias’ surgery

  17. I started having pain in my left shoulder back in 2005. I went to a orthapedic and he determined that my shoulder and my clavical bone was hitting each other when I moved it. Keep in mind that I am a city bus driver and drive for 8-10 hours straight each day.I also told him that that I felt a pain in the left side of my neck at the same time. This pain is constant but varies mild to very painful and when the pain mild I still have full range of motion and when it is stroner it makes my muscle running along my neck and shoulder to tighen. He gave me several shots of coritzone but still no relief. Then he did surgey and thought if he cut off the hook on my clavical bone should do it. I continued to have the same pame and some new ones now. Now I was beginning to have bad headaches and popping in the shoulder along with stiffness and loss of strenghn. I went back to the doctor and he said he didn’t know what was going on and that he could no longer help me.Because this was an L & I claim I’m having trouble finding a doctor who is willing to take my case on. Is the pain pump something that the doctor notifies you on before hand? because in recent x-rays the radiologists noted problems in my bicep area and in a clavical bone scan found irrataion on my left side. Like everyone else on this page I too feel helpless but know I am not imaging it and it effects my everyday life.

  18. I had surgery on June 3, 2009, a slap repair and some other things done to my shoulder. They put in the pain ball, I have had problems with my recovery, lots of clicking and popping, scar tissue is building up already and causing pain. I don’t know how long this recovery is supposed to be but it is very painful, I realize I am only about 12 – 13 weeks post op, but I have never experienced pain like this, it extends from my traps, in my neck down to my pectoral muscles, even under my arm. My concern is that this was a work related injury and if I am released by the doctor and there are any other problems because of this pain ball I will be stuck with the bill.

  19. My husband had surgery in january and had that ball in for 48 hour after
    he came home and he called the hospital becausehis arm was really
    herting and swelling but they sed just put ice on it, he did and it stayed like that for days.
    His arm today is still not the same.
    Would you beleave they had him take the ball out him self,
    My husband all most passed out on me.
    Could his pain and not being able to move it that far be do to that ball.

  20. I had the onQ ball two times for my shoulder and the first July 30, 2009 and again September 25, 2009 the second was due to a ripped graphting jacket, I know the on q doesn’t even work the pain was terrible, as far as I’m concerned they could take them off the market.

  21. Had rotator cuff, impingement, slap 2, mumford procedure back in November…. with the pain pump. Now, February and my pain is worse than before surgery. Limited motion and extreme pain in my bicep and tricep area. Suffering severe headaches, blurred vision on the left side where I had the surgery. Went to the surgeon and he gave me an injection of steriod, marcaine and lidacaine.. Gave me total relief for 3 hours and that was it. He said I have capsulitis (inflamation) of the joint. I have popping and grinding again. Went back and he put me on prednesone. Oral steroid for the inflamation. He isn’t listening to my tightness and pain in my bicep and tricep. Nor the headaches and pain in my scapula too. I now regret the surgery cause I have pain on a constant basis and I get awakened 3 to 4 times a night. I am living in constant hell. Tell me there’s a good ending here.

  22. I had two shoulder surgeries on my left shoulder within 6 months of each other, the pain ball was used on both of the surgeries, yes it felt better for a while but now I hurt all the time, my shoulder pops and grinds, is painful to do a lot of things, I symaphize with everyone who had ever used a pain ball

  23. had 2 surgeries,painball first go round,just had 2nd surgery in Jan.2011,I’m hurting as I type,This is the most horrible pain I have ever experienced.The pain is all over my body,now it’s shifting to my left shoulder,down my neck,across my shoulder blade,I can barely lift my right arm.Sleepless nites,too much vicodin,headaches,legs hurt,hands,ankles hurt & swell up,back hurts,knees hurt,been turned down by 3 lawyers,turned down 4 times for disability,been out of work since 2007,nobody is gonna hire me. I’ll be 60 in 2 months! I feel like I’m dying,my dr. is moving back to Florida,he lied to Soc.Security saying I was doing well,I can’t believe how he told that lie! I wouldn’t wish this on nobody,I agree with all the comments I’ve read,the pain & vicodin will make a monster out of you. We all should be compensated for all of this pain that’s never going to releve us,I don’t want no more surgery,because it only worsens the pain,my first surgery was in 2008,three yrs later,my tendon has torn again,I have throbbing pain everyday. The doctors only lie to you. I’ve never felt such sruciating pain in all my life and to have tendinitis too,that’s even more painful. All I want,is my life back and my health! I am so mesirable,nobody understands your “PAIN”

  24. It’s me again,still in pain with my right shoulder,can barely lift it,Was just turned down again by another lawyer. Can’t seem to find no lawyer to take my case! I know something is wrong,now that my orthopedic has went back to Florida,he didn’t give me a lot of info pertaining to my shoulder,all he would say is you’re doing fine,pain should go away in about a year,”Bull!” My pain is worsening,I’ve scheduled another appt. with a new orthopedic next month,My body is slowly deterioating,The pain is affecting me all over!

  25. I had shoulder surgery 2007 on my right,but now for the past 3 years I popping in the left. Between my shoulders pop ang grind. Here I am up @231 am because of that pain. I also had the Q- bal pain pump I believe that is what it was called. If anyone finds out ther is any help for please email me . all I can say is I feel your pain.

  26. I had rotater cuff repair in july 2007, after a long recovery and therapy period, I was so happy to have the use of my arm back, I was not having any pain, and was using it just as i had befor the problem had occured. I fell forward once and it pushed it back up on the part that holds it in place. and it was stuck their for a while, but finaly slid back into place . Evere sence then it has become worse, everyday a little worse, it feels nearly as bad as it did befor, and last night after a day of crunching a nd hurting it tryed to seperate while trying to get comfortable in bed, Now i cant reach for any thing or even use that hand to lift up a fork or glass. If I remember right he said he was going to use a metal mesh to hold it togeather…. what am I supose to do. I cant stand to think of life going on like this. what will it take to stop it. will I have to have another surgery… I just want to die, this problem was caused by arthritis, and I have many more places that are detererating,,

  27. I had surgery on my left should in 10-8-10. something went wrong and had another surgery 1-11-11. Everything was going good until Jan 2012. In the first surgery I had the On-Q pain ball (and I still have it). I don’t have the constant pain, but I do have burning and it feels like the tissue is being ripped from the bones. I have visual atrophy in the front and back of shoulder joint. I have lost almost all of my stregth above my shoulder and my arm gets so tired so very quickly. I don’t know what is going on with it and reading all your stories I am not sure if it is from the pain ball. due to the lack of pain or is the pain to come shortly.??

  28. Has anyone had issues with the pain ball after having one put in after a c-section? I had a very hard time healing with my c-section and still have problems three years later. I get a horrible sharp, burning sensation where the pain ball was, so I often wonder if it’s related.

  29. I had surgery on my left shoulder a few years ago, Arthritis and bone spur, cut open not arthroscopic, about 7 months later I was hit from behind in my truck and tore the bicep and the rotator, surgery was done with the 3 little cuts, afterwards I had the pain ball put on for a few weeks, for the past year my shoulder has been getting worse by the day, popping, grinding , limited movement and pain enough that I have to take a couple Vicadin before bed to get any rest. I sent all of my info to a lawyer who advertised the pain ball suit and they said they couldn’t represent me, I even had paperwork from the hospital with the makers name and the contents of the ball, it was the same stuff causing the problems

Leave a Reply

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide contact information below and additional private comments if you want an attorney to contact you to review a potential case.

    The information below will not be published to this page.

  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Additional Information & Lawsuit Resources

Maryland Accident Lawyers

Our personal injury lawyers handle auto accidents, truck accidents and other serious cases.

Maryland Accident Information
Actos Bladder Cancer

Side effects of Actos, a popular diabetes drug, may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits
Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Pursuing product liability lawsuiits for problems from a number of metal-on-metal hip systems.

DePuy ASR Hip Recall Info
Transvaginal Mesh Lawyers

Vaginal mesh used to repair POP and SUI can cause serious and severe complications.

Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Info