We have all experienced this before when our knees snap when standing up, our necks crack when we turn our heads or our ankles pop when we rotate them.
You may think there’s something wrong with your joints when you hear them pinging away especially when the joint cracking is loud. According to orthopedic surgeon Kim L. Stearns, MD “creaking and snapping joints might be annoying, but they usually are nothing to worry about.” However; if there is constant cracking coupled with any pain or swelling, that can be a sign that something is wrong. If there is pain, you may have an injury that requires treatment from your therapist.
The older we get, the more noise our joints make because some of our cartilage wears away as part of the normal aging process. Then these surfaces get a little rougher and so we get more noise as they rub against each other. What’s interesting is that the joint sounds can come and go, depending on how we position our bodies when we sit, sleep and how we move.
Cracking, popping joints are so common that is it one of the most frequent questions my clients ask me during their myotherapy sessions with me.
2. What’s that sound?
There are a few reasons why our joints snap and crack. When we go to the gym and do repetitive exercises we might notice a clicking or soft snapping sound each time we bend our arm or leg. This sound usually indicates that our muscle is tight, and is therefore rubbing and causing friction around the bone. The sound also could be coming from tendons rubbing over the bone. We can do gentle stretching to help reduce the snapping.
Did you know? The noisiest joint is your shoulder because there are so many moving parts and so many tendons that move over bones.
3. Why do my knuckles crack?
The cracking is the sound of gas being released from the joint, it’s called cavitation. The sound is coming from the compression of nitrogen bubbles that naturally occur in the spaces of the joints. The belief that cracking your knuckles is bad for your joints is an old wives’ tale. There is no science to suggest it’s bad for your joints.
One of the best ways to avoid creaking joints is to get up and move as much as you can during the day especially with the Covid-19 pandemic at the moment. The more you move, the more your body lubricates itself. When you have been sitting or being inactive the fluid in your joints don’t move and the more active you are, the more your joints lubricate themselves.
I guess you can say: Motion is lotion.