Popping or Cracking Joints: When To Worry?

After sitting at a desk or working a long day, you straighten your knuckles, neck, and back only to hear that satisfying pop of your joints. No matter how relaxing it sounds, you may wonder if it is something to be worried about. Normally, we associate joint cracks with old age, but many people in their teens and 20s complain about this issue.

In this blog post, we will discuss the common causes and conditions that may make it worse and when you should seek medical attention for noisy joints.

What Is Joint Popping?

Joint popping or cracking is a common term for the audible sounds that result from joint movement. The medical term for this condition is known as crepitus. When you move your joints, you may feel a ‘pop’ sound or a cracking sensation. It often feels as if pressure has been released from the joint, making you feel more relaxed.

Joint popping can occur in any joint of your body, but some commonly affected areas are fingers, wrists, elbows, neck, knees, shoulders, hips, and back.

Why Do Joints Pop?

The exact cause of popping or cracking joints has not been determined yet, as it is still a debate among researchers. However, many of them believe that the audible sounds occur when a small space forms between the bones of a joint when it moves. As a result, gas bubbles move in that space within the joint fluid, releasing a popping sound when they collapse.

On other occasions, you may hear sounds from your joints when the ligaments or tendons move over the bony surfaces of a joint. You may hear clicking or cracking sounds when you stretch or move your joints around.

Are There Any Medical Conditions Linked With Popping or Cracking Joints?

While popping or cracking sounds from joints are mostly normal, they may indicate an underlying medical condition if they occur in the presence of other symptoms. Some examples include:

  • Osteoarthritis: It is a degenerative disease that causes the cartilage covering the joints to become thinner and weaker over time. As a result, you may experience pain, stiffness, popping sounds, and difficulty in movement in the affected joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and damage to the synovial membrane (joint lining). It often presents with joint pain, swelling, and deformity, along with audible sounds from the affected joints.
  • Bursitis: This condition presents with the inflammation of the bursa, small fluid-filled sacs that lubricate the joints. You may feel pain, stiffness, swelling, and cracking noises in the affected areas.

When To Seek Medical Attention?

Popping or cracking sounds from your joints can make you stressed, but there is nothing to worry about if it happens occasionally and without other symptoms. But if you experience frequent joint popping along with pain, swelling, stiffness, or other symptoms, it is better to seek medical attention immediately. The presence of these symptoms may indicate an underlying condition that requires a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Final Words

Popping or cracking your joint may sound satisfying, but you should keep an eye out for other symptoms that may affect your joints’ health. For an expert opinion, book a consultation at Rheumatology Care by calling 832-532-9779. You can also visit us at 13688 Breton Ridge St, STE H, Houston, TX 77070, near Houston Kidney Specialists Center.

Disclaimer - Use At Your Own Risk :- The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. Any action you take upon the information on these blogs are strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs.
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