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Cracking Joints (Joint Noises)

Oct 06, 2020


What You Need to Know About Joint Noises


The older you get, the more noise your joints can make.  We’ve all experienced it.  Knees that snap when we stand up, a neck that cracks when we turn our head and ankles that pop when we rotate them.  Often, joint noises can be loud and perhaps a little disconcerting.  Therefore, many people think that there might be something wrong with their joints when they hear these noises.  However, often it is nothing to worry about.


Creaking and snapping joints might be annoying, but they usually are nothing to worry about.  It can be a normal, common occurrence.  But if the constant noises are coupled with consistent pain or swelling, that can be a sign that something is wrong.  Then it will be time to see a doctor.


Why do joints make noise?


Many people notice that their joints seem to make more noise as they get older.  There’s a good reason for that.  The older you get, the more noise your joints can make because some of your cartilage wears away as part of the normal aging process.  This causes these surfaces to get a little rougher and therefore you get more noise as they rub against each other.


Also, joint sounds can come and go, depending on how you position your body when you sit and sleep or even how you use your body when you move.  


What’s that sound?


There are a few reasons why your joints snap and crack.  For example, if you’re doing a Grow Young Fitness workout, you might notice a clicking or soft snapping sound each time you bend your arm or leg.  This sound usually indicates that a muscle is tight, and is rubbing and causing friction around the bone.  As you exercise more and become more consistent, things start to lose up.


The sound also could be coming from tendons rubbing over the bone.  If this is the case, try gentle stretching, and the snapping sound should decrease or disappear.  Many people report these kinds of sounds coming from their shoulders.  The noisiest joint is the shoulder because there are so many moving parts and so many tendons that move over bones.


As long as there is no pain, the sounds are normal.


Knuckle noises


When you crack your knuckles, the sound is coming from the compression of nitrogen bubbles that naturally occur in the spaces of the joints.  The cracking is the sound of gas being released from the joint, an action called cavitation.  This sound is also not a cause for concern.  And despite what your mom said, you’re not going to make your knuckles too big or develop arthritis by cracking them.  There’s no science to say it’s bad for your joints.


How to avoid creaky joints


One way to avoid creaking joints is to get up and move as much as you can during the day.  Motion is lotion and the more you move, the more your body lubricates itself.  When you’ve been sitting or lying around, fluid in the joints can’t move.  The more active you are, the more your joints can lubricate themselves.


So remember, as long as it’s not painful, joint noise is okay!  Just continue to keep it moving!  However, if there is pain, you may have an injury that requires treatment.  So then, check with your doctor. 


Keep it moving!