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Why joints crunch and what to do about it
Why joints crunch and what to do about it

Most often this is a harmless phenomenon, but sometimes it indicates serious problems.

Why joints crunch and what to do about it
Why joints crunch and what to do about it

Joint crunching is common. Every adult faces it regularly, and with age - more and more often. What Is Crepitus? … In most cases, joint crunching, even if loud, is completely harmless. But there are exceptions.

What causes joint crunch

In medicine, this phenomenon is denoted by the term crepitus. What Is Crepitus? … Sometimes it is also used to denote the sounds that occur with ARVI in the lungs or with bone fractures.

Crepitus is not an independent disease or disorder. This is just a symptom. Most often, its appearance is associated with one of the following reasons.

Tiny air bubbles in the joint capsule

Sometimes they form inside the joints, and when they move, they burst, which causes a slight crackle. It is for this reason that a sound is heard when we crunch our fingers. It is not painful and safe.

Age-related abrasion of cartilage

The older we get, the thinner the cartilaginous layer that separates the bones that converge at the joint.

The result is more noise than normal when the bones rub against each other. Snap, Crackle, Pop: What You Need to Know About Joint Noises.

Orthopedic surgeon Kim Stearns for the Cleveland Clinic blog

This can be annoying, but as long as there are no dangerous symptoms (listed below), the crunch is safe.

Exercise stress

Joints often start to crackle if you perform repetitive exercises: push-ups, squats, lifting weights. In this case, the cracking sound is caused by the tense, "petrified" muscle or tendon rubbing against the bone.

The noisiest joint is the shoulder: it has a lot of moving parts and tendons.

Kim Stearns

This friction can be recognized by its characteristic sound - it is similar to soft muffled clicks that occur when the load is repeated.

One type of arthritis

Usually we are talking about osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases cause degeneration (destruction) of the articular cartilage.

As a result of the loss of cartilage tissue, the articular bones are in direct contact with each other during movement. This is how a lingering crunch occurs. It is often accompanied by pain.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon if, in addition to crunching, there are symptoms such as Snap, Crackle, Pop: What You Need to Know About Joint Noises:

  • pain in a crackling joint;
  • swelling, swelling, redness of the skin around it.

This may indicate that the crunch is caused by trauma or exacerbation of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis.

It is also worth consulting with a doctor if the crunch has begun to haunt you constantly: you notice strange sounds at least several times a day.

What to do to make the joints crunch less

If the crunch is not accompanied by dangerous symptoms, that is, it is not a sign of injury or illness, you can do nothing. Such crepitus is not harmful to health and is generally considered a variant of the norm.

For those who do not like crackling, orthopedists recommend simply moving more.

Movement is a kind of lubricant. The more active you are, the better your joints are "lubricated" and the less they squeak.

Kim Stearns

But if the joints are crunchy due to arthritis, the surgeon will prescribe treatment for you. It includes medications to help repair cartilage and relieve pain.