All too often I get the question from one of my patients; “Why does my insert any joint of the body crack when I do this?”
The snap, crackle, pops of our joints; often associated with movement, can have a wide range of causes and not all of them are medical emergencies. Years of research has not quite narrowed down what the cause of those noisy joints may be; but below are some possible causes of your own personal sound effects.
1) Sometimes, soft tissue structures like tendons shift on and off of bony structures in our bodies and create an audible sound as we move
2) Synovial fluid is located within the joints to provide lubrication. Another cause may be attributed to tiny gaseous bubbles in that fluid being popped due to compression or stretching of the joint.
3) Other sounds can be associated with rough joint surfaces that rub together and cause audible noises
“But I crack my joints all the time…it feels so good! Is that a bad thing?”
Joints that crack/ pop on their own are generally no cause for concern. Audible sounds in the joints usually do not require medical attention, however if those harmless sounds are associated with pain, swelling, or a traumatic event such as a fall or sporting activity further assistance may be necessary. Self cracking/ manipulating joints can be related to increased inflammation and instability in the body. So to rid yourself of the urge to crack a strengthening and stability program specific to your needs may be initiated by a physical therapist.
If you have any concerns about your cracking or popping joints feel free to contact the knowledgeable staff at OSI for an in depth movement assessment and personalized stability program. Thanks for reading and happy moving!