The human body sometimes makes tons of strange and unexpected noises, but joints cracking is one of the most common. A joint crack refers to a popping, snapping or cracking noise that might come from your fingers, shoulders, knees or spine. Luckily, joints that crack don’t pose a health complication unless the sound is accompanied by pain. However, even though they are not usually dangerous, the sound of a joint cracking may be alarming. So let’s explore what causes it!
What is a Joint?
First, let’s discuss what exactly a joint is. Joints are the places where two bones meet and attach– think shoulder, hip, finger, and knee. The purpose of the joints is movement, allowing us to bend and move in different ways. Healthy joints fulfill both of these jobs by staying loose and allowing for smooth flexibility while supporting the bones they connect.
Why Do Joints Crack?
Joints can make a popping or cracking noise for any number of reasons, but the most common is the release of air. Air bubbles form because of synovial fluid, which lubricates our joints and helps keep all of the parts moving smoothly. This fluid contains oxygen, carbon monoxide and nitrogen, which are all types of gasses.
Sometimes, this gas is released when a joint moves, leading to the popping or cracking noise that we are all familiar with. This noise is not harmful and does not mean you’re hurting yourself. It simply means there was some sort of pressure present, and something caused that pressure to release.
Joints may crack due to a recent injury, such as a broken bone, sprain or tear, which can all lead to swelling. The swelling may lead to pressure and cracking. You should seek treatment for an injury right away, but cracking may still occur during the treatment process. As long as it is not painful, there is little to worry about.
Joints may crack as a result of arthritis, which is the most common cause of joint pain. Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in one or more joints after the cartilage begins to wear away. When this happens, the bones rub together and create stress, leading to complications, like popping sounds.
Another reason joints may crack is due to their structure. Either from an old injury or simply due to how your joints grew, some joints may be set at an angle that allows air to be released while you move. This is not dangerous and should typically resolve on its own, but if the cracking does not go away or continues to get worse, then it’s best to see your doctor for a detailed evaluation.
How Can I Prevent Joint Cracking?
While joint cracking is usually nothing to worry about, there are certain steps you can take to make it less likely. For example, if you commonly crack your knuckles, then hold off before doing so for a while. Or give your hands time to rest in between cracking sessions.
Also, when exercising or working out, be sure to properly warm up before beginning strenuous activities. Joints that crack during workouts may be encouraged by sudden movements or cold muscles.
Last but not least, although they are not perfect for everyone, stretching and physical therapy exercises can help keep your joints loose and flexible. This will make them less likely to pop and crack while you move around.
Joint cracking alone is often nothing to worry about, but if you experience joint pain, then it may be time to contact Rejuvinix. Rejuvinix specializes in non-surgical treatments for joint pain and can assist you in finding the best solution for your needs. To learn more, request an appointment online to schedule your no-cost consultation!