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Creaky joints. What is it? Can we avoid it?

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Creaky joints. What is it? Can we avoid it?

Creaky joints. What is it? Can we avoid it?

We have all experienced those clicky knees when standing up or walking down the stairs, our ankles popping each time we rotate them, our neck cracking when we turn or our back grinding when we twist on a chair.

It is no wonder that many people think that there may be something wrong and their joints are ‘falling apart’.

Creaking joints may sound odd, but they are usually nothing to worry about.

Remember this rule: painless cracking of a joint is not painful.


Joint “cracking” can result from:  

Gas, that normally builds up within a joint, suddenly popping out of the joint, when the joint is forcibly stretched or compressed.  It’s just like bursting a balloon- not that noisy though. This is not harmful.

Tendons moving over tissues because of minor adjustments in their gliding paths. The noisiest joint is the shoulder because there are so many moving parts and so many tendons that move over bones. Your tendons may be simply slipping over some bumps on your bones, so when the tendon slips over the bump it clicks.

Poor joint positioning or ligament damage, though this is much less likely. In this case, simple alignment, strength and stabilisation exercises can be given from your physiotherapist.

There is no evidence that “cracking” is harmful or beneficial, but more specifically, knuckle cracking doesn’t cause arthritis.

If cracking is accompanied by pain or swelling, there could be underlying abnormalities of the structures of the joint, such as loose cartilage or injured ligaments.


How to avoid those creaky joints?

Motion is the lotion, get up and move as much as you can during the day. When you’ve been sitting or lying around, fluid in the joints doesn’t move. The more active you are, the more your joints ‘lubricate’ themselves.

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