Should you be concerned about your cracking joints?
Knee Arthritis Treatment
We’ve all experienced it – a neck crack when we suddenly turn our head, a knee snap as we stand up, ankle cracks as we rotate them, and knuckles popping. Creaking, snapping joints can be annoying and and alarming. You may be thinking that the loud cracking sounds are early signs of something concerning like arthritis. It seems that as we get older, the cracking only becomes louder and more prominent. So why do our joints crack and should we be alarmed when it happens?
Are cracking joints a sign of arthritis?
One of the main concerns for people who experience a lot of joint cracking is that it is an early sign of arthritis. However according to Harvard Health, usual painless cracking or popping does not signify an early form of arthritis. If you are concerned that the constant cracking and popping is causing damage to your joints, think again. It turns out that normal cracking of joints do not impair joints either, despite what your mother may have told you. As you age, the noise your joints make may become louder. This is due to your cartilage wearing away, which is part of the natural aging process. When this happens, the surfaces around the joints become a little rougher causing more noise when they rub against each other.
The Cleveland Clinic (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/?_ga=2.229460820.950380029.1543254283-1309464235.1536250986) also notes that joint sounds may come and go depending on the position of your body when you sit, sleep, and move your body. The bottom line is that joint sound are just noise, it is very common, and should not raise alarm.
Why do joints make noise?
There are several reasons why joints make noise. The popping sounds that typically come from cracking your knuckles come from the release of nitrogen bubbles that have naturally formed in your joint space. In other cases, you may hear a soft snap or a clicking noise when doing repetitive exercises such as lifting weights or doing pushups. This typically indicates a tight muscle or a tendon, rubbing against the bone causing friction. The most common areas that people hear these sounds are from the shoulder, arm or leg. In order to prevent or reduce the snapping sound, gentle stretching can help loosen the muscle. Over time, this may decrease the snapping sounds or make it disappear all together.
It is important to note that if you are experiencing any type of pain or swelling coupled with constant cracking, it may be a sign for something of concern. In these cases, seeking advice from your doctor or healthcare professional is advised.
How to avoid creaky joints
The best way to avoid creaky joints is to get up and move! Motion is like lotion for your joints. The more you move, the more your joints will lubricate themselves. Exercises that utilize the core muscles, and are low weight bearing are crucial for joint health. If you have questions about joint health or are experiencing pain or swelling with constant cracking, consider seeing an arthritis doctor Shawnee, KS offers who can help assess your needs.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at LifeWorks for their insight about healthy joints and alternative medicine.
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