Joint Noise - - Popping and Cracking
By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide
Updated November 24, 2003
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
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Noises in the joints, especially the knees, can be quite disturbing and cause concern. Often, these noises are not indicative of any underlying problem. Knee cracking and popping usually has a 'bark that is worse than its bite.' Such noise often persists for years without any real problem developing. If there is no pain with cracks or pops, you can assume it is being caused by the soft tissue in a joint. In the knee this may occur if the patella is slightly out of alignment and may rub on the adjacent tissues. Noises that are associated with pain may indicate damage to the articulating surfaces of the joint. Such pops and clicks may be due to tears in the meniscus, but are sometimes just due to an overly large or loose meniscus which may snap over the other structures in the knee as the knee bends and straightens.
The bottom line is this. If you hear pops and clicks with no associated pain in a joint, you may want to begin some conditioning exercises to improve the overall integrety of the joint. If the muscles are strong, they will take the weight off of the joint and relax the pressure on those articulating surfaces. If there is pain along with those joint noises, there may be structural damage building in the joint, and it would be prudent to see a physician for an appropriate diagnosis.
Mine do it too, I have not experienced any pain (finger's crossed). Here's what I found:
From The Stone Clinic:
"Doc, my knee crackles and pops when I bend and extend it, but it does not hurt or swell."
ANSWER: Most commonly, this is either scar tissue or a rough area between the kneecap and the femur where the knee cap rubs. Cracking and popping inside of the knee is very common, and usually does not need any treatment at all. If the knee produces pain and swelling, then treatment can be performed; often non-operative treatment consisting of specific exercises and physical therapy helps. Drinking glucosamine increases joint lubrication. If these symptoms persist, a careful physical examination, x-rays, and a MRI are usually employed to make the diagnosis and sometimes damaged articular cartilage or scar tissue can be smoothed, removed or re-grown in order to diminish the pain with popping.
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It's probably too complicated for lay people....
Mostly, it's creakin' that happens as you age and eventually all your joints will play little songs (like percussion solo's) when you move! Keeps you company and lets you know you're still alive.
One word of warning though. One the creaking starts and it always happens--if for some reason it DOESN'T happen when you bend or stoop? You'll probably need an ambulance!
Hi Joann - for me it's arthritis under my kneecaps. It's been happening to me since I was a teen, and now I am 37.
I am sure there are quite a few reasons that could happen -I hope it's nothing serious!
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Snap, crackle, pop.
I heard it has to do with the cartilage in between the joints. As we age it wears down. As it wears down there is nothing to soften the joints as they move. I could be totally wrong.
Thanks for all your responses. I guess I could have tried to look it up but you guys always have much more interesting answers to my questions. LOL!
I like the idea of the MRI. I had to take Valium to get an MRI and Valium is some good stuff!!!!
I guess as long as it doesn't hurt, I'll just not worry about it. Maybe I should start taking glucosamine. I can add that to the fish oil I just started taking for depression. I'm becoming a pill popper!