There are times when we suddenly start hearing strange voices coming out of our joints such as a snapping sound from our knees on standing up or walking, a pop on rotating our ankles, a crackling sound from our neck on neck bending and not to forget the knuckle cracking( And no, it doesn’t cause arthritis or swelling of the joints as our granny’s used to tell us)
Let’s discuss in detail about these sounds and how to prevent them:
What makes the joints Snap and Pop?
1.Knee joint popping if painless can be because your kneecap isn’t gliding properly in the joint. The reason could be: Weak muscles esp. the inner thigh muscles causing the kneecap to be pulled outwards and create a snap sound.
2.Cavitation/Escaping gases: Cavitation results from a change in joint pressure that allows gases like, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, which are normally dissolved in synovial fluid(Joint lubricant)—to come out of the solution and form gas bubbles in the joint. This creates a small cavity in the joint, and when the cavity closes quickly, the bubble essentially “pops” and makes the familiar snap or Pop noise.,
3.Movement of tendons and ligaments: Sometimes when a joint move, the tendon’s position changes and moves slightly out of place. You may hear a snapping sound as the tendon returns to its original position. In addition, your ligaments may tighten as you move your joints. This commonly occurs in your knee, ankle, wrist and can make a cracking sound.
4. Degenerative changes, trauma or injury to joint: With age, there are degenerative changes in the cartilage or any injury or trauma to knee resulting in chondromalacia, meniscal tear etc. Such joints make sounds caused by the loss of smooth cartilage and the roughness of the joint surface. These conditions can also cause snapping and popping of your knee.
5.Crepitus: Crepitus is the only sound in the bag of noisy joints, which is of concern. A person experiencing crepitus can usually feel the crunching or cracking sensation by placing a hand over the joint such as knee joint or shoulder joint as the knee or shoulder moves.
Any pop, snap, creak, crackle or crepitus is harmless until it is accompanied by swelling, pain or inability to move that joint. If any of these symptoms appear, consult your doctor immediately.
How to prevent popping and crackling of joints?
Walk: Incorporate regular walk of 30 min. On daily basis despite the hectic work schedule.
Strengthen your knee: Knee joint is amongst the most common joint to produce such sounds. Strengthening of knee muscles would help in the stability of joint & hence reduction in such sounds.
Yoga: 5-10 repetition of Suryanamaskar daily helps in stretching of all the muscles of the body.
So, now you know the snap story of the snapping joints. Keep yourself fit & healthy with regular exercises.