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Most of us know that joints can make noises: cracks, pops, snaps, clicks, and more. These sounds can be loud and unsettling. Noisy joints are often a concern for people who fear that the joint noises are a sign of an underlying issue.
Turning our heads too fast, rotating our ankles and sometimes even just standing up can cause our joints to crack. This can be a loud and disconcerting occurrence often leading to worry that something is wrong.
Have you ever heard the myth that cracking your knuckles breaks the bones of your deceased loved ones? Or that the number of noises you hear when you twist, pull, and bend your fingers reveals how many people are in love with you?
There's something about the sound of a crack in your back as you stretch that can feel just so darn satisfying. In fact there are entire social media feeds devoted to this "ahh" feeling: video after video of people instinctively groaning in pleasure as their back loudly pops.
There's something about the sound of a crack in your back as you stretch that can feel just so darn satisfying. In fact there are entire social media feeds devoted to this \\\"ahh\\\" feeling: video after video of people instinctively groaning in pleasure as their back loudly pops.
Loss of cartilage: In people with arthritis, their joints tend to be louder than those without. This is often due to a lack of cartilage, which means the bones are rubbing together more and thus, making more noise. This cause tends to be present in a lot of older people, as cartilage naturally lessens with age, regardless or arthritis or not.
As we walk cracking sounds may be heard, but this most likely occurs when the foot is moved beyond its normal range of motion. It is more common to hear cracking when you stretch or roll your foot. Pops and cracks are normal in this case because the motions require the bones and ligaments to stretch. If you have ever gently stretched your toes back and forth then you inevitably have heard cracks coming from your toes.
There are two main reasons why our joints crack. The bones in our joints are surrounded by synovial fluid which lubricates and prevents bones from rubbing against one another. Synovial fluid contains three gases: oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. These gases form bubbles when the joint capsule is stretched. A popping sound is heard when oxygen bubbles are released. The other reason why joints crack is related to movement of the ligaments or tendons. Ligaments or tendons can tangle or they can excessively tighten and when this happens, you hear a gentle pop as they return to their normal position.
As you bend down to pick up that pen off the floor, you hear a pop and wonder what that can be from. When joints crack, you can become worried as you are unsure if this is normal, or a sign of weakening bones. Rest easy, that popping noise you are hearing is in fact normal and does not mean your joint health is withering away.
With aging, the joints may crack louder as this is just a part of the aging process. As the cartilage begins to wear down, the surface of the joint becomes rougher, therefore, making louder noises. When these sounds occur such as when you walk upstairs or bend down, they may seem alarming, however, is no cause for concern. In the event of pain and swelling present, contact your orthopedic doctor for further evaluation.
Keeping your body active will help to lubricate the joints which can minimize the loud sounds coming from the joints. Although the cracking of the joints is not harmful, forcing your joints to crack or having someone else crack your joints can lead to potential issues.
There is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in the joints. However, a couple of reports in the medical literature are available associating knuckle cracking with injury of the ligaments surrounding the joint or dislocation of the tendons ( attachments of muscles to bones) which improved with conservative treatment. A study found that after many years of cracking habitual knuckle crackers may have reduced grip strength compared with people not cracking their knuckles.
Tendons are like rubber bands stretched over joints that keep muscles attached to bones. Similarly, ligaments expand to connect bones to other bones. Sometimes, tendons and ligaments slide out place at the joint, and when the joint moves, they quickly snap back into place. The sound of the tendons and ligaments snapping back into place can cause a popping or cracking sound. This commonly occurs in knees and ankles.
Another reason for the cracking noise you hear can be the result of ligaments and tendons moving over the joints or one another. Ligaments connect bone to bone, and tendons connect muscle to bone. Sometimes, if the ligaments, muscles or tendons supporting your neck are too tight or too loose, they will make this cracking noise when you force the tendons, muscles or ligaments to rub against your bones.
According to Cleveland Clinic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kim Stearns, joint cracking can be loud, and include all kinds of noises, from grinding to snapping, and they tend to get more pronounced as we get older because of cartilage wear. This is normal.
According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, a capsule covers joints, safeguarding the bones connected at that joint. Protective fluid fills the capsule, cushioning the cartilage and tissues, while keeping the muscles lubricated and well-nourished. Nutrients float inside the fluid, along with gases. As fingers bend, the joint capsule stretches and the air pressure inside of the fluid lessens. This creates a vacuum that the gases then fill. When the bubble pops, it creates a loud noise. Joints won't make another popping noise right away because the joint must refill with gases first.
Other sources of popping are tendons and ligaments, according to Johns Hopkins Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Tendons are like rubber bands stretched over joints that keep muscles attached to bones. Similarly, ligaments extend to connect bones to other bones. Doctors believe that tendons can make a popping noise when they quickly snap over a joint. Ligaments may make popping noises when they get tight really quickly while the joint is moving.
Before we go any further, it is important to discuss what exactly the cracking indicates. Every joint in our body contains fluid between the joints. This fluid allows for the proper movement of the joint and protects it from a host of potential problems. It is believed that when these nitrogen bubbles release and pop, we can hear a sometime loud cracking noise, called cavitation. A popping sensation can also indicate a tight muscle or tendon rubbing against other structures in or around the joint when we move. So, first, it is important to know that the crack is likely not a structural problem and has nothing to do with the bone actually cracking or fracturing.
@wgatap21 how often does your neck crack? Daily? Is it when you move a certain way? My neck cracks, rather loudly, once in a while (maybe once a month). It's quite loud and disconcerting, but I haven't pin-pointed what leads to this happening.
So when you hear someone cracking their fingers or knuckles, you may admonish the person for doing irreparable damage to their joints. But is cracking your fingers and other joints really all that bad? The answer may surprise you. 2b1af7f3a8