Ever have that feeling of the need to crack your joints, or the need to hear that loud “pop” when you feel stiff?
Now you may also think that if your joints crack or pop that’s not a good sign.
Now before we get off on the wrong foot, cracking and popping sounds made in the joints that are NOT painful should cause much less concern.
If these pops and cracks are painful or cause irritations, then there may be some pathology here or cause for some concern.
However, if they don’t hurt at all, but seem odd because every time you move in a certain direction you hear that noise and wonder, “is something going to give out”...... I would be less concerned.
The reason we have these loud pops and cracks are due to the fluid movement within our joints.
Our tissues and joints are surrounded by fluid (don’t forget or bodies are made up of 60% of water). When we are put in certain positions, or ones that we repetitively gravitate towards, fluid is pushed to one area of the joint (based on the pressure).
As you move the fluid is released and able to move to other areas.
During the process of moving, the “pops” become audible due to a cavitation from air pockets that build up during stagnation.
By having deceased ranges of motion in the joints, you lessen the ability for the full joint to be lubricated as you move. Remember, the fluid moves as a pressure gradient, so as the joints glide, one area gets compressed and the fluid can spread.
The best way to think of this is to picture a spill of water on a countertop. When you press your fingers down on it, the water will spread more. That's exactly what happens inside your joints as you move.
You may get more cracks if the pressure stays on one spot for a long time, so when it is released air bubbles form in the area as fluid flows back in. This can explain why your knee or shoulder may always "pop" at the same motion when you move it.
Motion is lotion
Keep your joints moving and increase your ranges of motion within the joints to lubricate the entire surface.
If you feel like you want to know more or have additional questions regarding the matter, write a comment below or email us at email@example.com to and we would be happy to answer your questions.
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.