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Joints That Make Those Popping or Cracking Sounds
The noises may be irritating, but they're typically normal, orthopedic doctors say

By Robert Preidt

FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you've ever heard a loud pop as you bent down to pick something up, you'll be relieved to know that it's normal for your joints to make popping and cracking noises.

These sounds can be caused by a number of things, including when soft tissues -- such as tendons and ligaments -- rub or snap over other tissues and bones, explained Dr. Aman Dhawan. He is an orthopedic sports medicine specialist at Penn State Health's Milton Hershey Medical Center.

"Our joints are mobile, so there are a lot of things that slide over or run past each other. When they move, there is the potential for anatomy to intersect," he said in a Penn State news release.

The sounds can also be caused by pockets of nitrogen gas within the fluid that helps lubricate joints and provides nutrition to cartilage, Dhawan added.

According to Dr. Robert Gallo, another orthopedic sports medicine specialist at Hershey Medical Center, the only time you need to be concerned about noisy joints is if you also have swelling or pain.

There's no link between joint sounds and arthritis, both doctors agreed. And cracking your joints does not make them swell up or become arthritic, they added.

"Joint sounds are not really an indicator of health or lack of health," Dhawan said. He pointed out that the cracking or popping sounds "may be irritating to the listener, but that's a separate issue. There is really no evidence that it causes any damage."

Some people believe chondroitin and glucosamine supplements or injections help lubricate joints. But there is little evidence to prove they are effective, Gallo said.

Your joints can benefit from stretching and strengthening exercises, low-impact workouts (such as swimming and bicycling), maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, the doctors advised.

"There is good data to support getting rid of excess weight because it does improve pain in the joints of the lower extremities, as well as decreases your risk of getting arthritis or of having it progress," Dhawan said. "The joints carry the weight of our bodies, so the less stress you put on them, the longer they will stay healthy."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on joint health.

SOURCE: Penn State Health, news release, Jan. 18, 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=718894

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Joints
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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