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Why do my joints pop?

Snap! Crackle! Pop! As we age, our joints can resemble the claim made by an old Rice Krispies commercial — we hear them snap, crackle, and pop as we move about. Often the noises are produced when your joints expand, as in movement, and the space within the joint is increased. That causes a drop in pressure which in turn causes a release of carbon dioxide. It is this release of carbon dioxide that creates the sound.

Or the sounds can be created by ligaments or tendons quickly snapping over bone because it is too tight. With proper stretching and physical therapy this condition can generally be resolved.

Conversely, some people have inherently looser ligaments than others do and so their joints are more susceptible to increased motion within the joint. This increased ligament laxity and increased motion results in an increased ability to expand, release gas, and make a sound.

If your noisy joints are not accompanied by pain, there is nothing to worry about. However, sounds accompanied by pain indicate an injury or damage to the joint and should be checked by your orthopaedic doctor.

Our bones are surrounded by cartilage, a tissue that provides natural cushioning, allowing our joints to move smoothly. If your joint is injured, pieces of the cartilage can break off and catch in the joint. And as we age, the cartilage can deteriorate and the bones begin to rub against each other. This wear and tear can degenerate into osteoarthritis. It can also be the source of noise within the joints.

An injury to a joint can also cause noise and pain. A torn meniscus in the knee can be both noisy and painful upon movement. If your joints are both noisy and painful, it is time to call the Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100. Because living with pain isn’t really living!®

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.comThe information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this topic. 

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