You might have noticed many times your knee joints, finger joints  or knuckles frequently cracking.  Why do they crack? Is it really a serious problem? Do you need to be concerned about this popping sound? We all have these questions at back of our mind whenever we hear popping sounds from our joints. Lets understand what is the reason behind this problem. 

Some scientists and doctors says there is no reason for popping sounds, joint do crack all the time and hence not to worry about it. Only if the joints pain or swells due to cracking then there is some pathology behind this joint cracking. But its a curiosity to know why they crack at first place?

What causes the sound when we crack the joints? 

1) Movements and gliding of joints - Usually you will hear cracking sound in the knee or ankle joints. That sound is due to the movements of tendon which get slightly out of the place. Hence when you sit or squat you get the cracking sound. 

2) Lack of friction - Synovial fluid present in between two joints acts as lubricant and hence the movement of joints become smooth. In case of arthritis, synovial fluid is less and smoothness of cartilage reduces as well and hence it causes friction in the joints. This friction may cause sound in the joints during certain motion. 

3) Release of gases - Some of the scientists and doctors believe that another reason for cracking sound in the joint is due to release of gases from the synovial fluid. According to the them, synovial fluid contains various gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. When we stretch a joint like we press the knuckles or when we sit, small air bubbles are formed between the sac of joints. These air bubbles make the popping sound.

Is joint popping really a serious problem?

It is not a serious problem unless there is no pain and swelling. Such sounds are normal and usually increases with the age. Cracking sound of joint neither good nor bad for our joints. Many people think that cracking of knuckles or joints cause arthritis, it is not true. However frequent cracking of joints may increase the inflammation in the joints and lower the strength of the joints according to the researchers. However it is better to understand that arthritis is not caused by popping of joints but caused due to lack of synovial fluid between the joints. 

If you hear the popping sound too frequently with pain or swelling in the joints, it is always advised to seek doctors advice as it can be due to some pathology in the joints. 

 

How to stop popping sound?

 You need to strengthen the muscles where popping occurs. If your knee joint make cracking joint frequently, try to strengthen the muscles that supports the knee joint. Do some warm up exercises and squats regularly. These exercises will help to lubricate the joints and improve the mobility of the joints. 

Also soft massage would help to get rid stress in your joints. You can visit the massage therapist for professional soft tissue massage.

Eat healthy food as nutritious food help to improve the quality of joints and muscles. Consume fish oil as it fights against the inflammation related to joint destruction. also eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

 

Don't over do any thing. Avoid exercising to great extent. Do as much as your body, joints and muscles are able to manage. Regular mild to moderate exercise will help to reduce the cracking sound in the joints, however pathological cracking of joints would require more efforts than just nutritious food and exercise. Hence please take your doctors advise in such cases.  


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