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Joint Cracking or Popping - Causes and Concerns

Updated on October 17, 2009

Are Popping and Cracking Joints Harmful?

My joints pop and crack on their own so I decided to do some research. I can get up and walk around my desk and my knees and feet will pop. It does not hurt, but I just wanted to check online and with my doctor to see what I can find about the causes. I have came to find 2 things:

1. If the joint popping happens on its own and does not hurt or feel uncomfortable, you are probably ok.

2. Do not force joints to pop (knuckles, spine, neck, etc..).

I have no medical training but wanted to assemble some resources if you are interested in this topic. The problem is that not a whole lot of conclusive research about the correlation between intentionally popping joints and arthritis exists. I see a chiropractor and take her advice as well. Any time you force something out of line you do risk injury.

What causes the joint pop or crack sound?

There are a few causes of the sound you may hear. These come from gases, movement of the parts in the joint, or even rough surfaces against each other. Read more at the Library of Congress. The fluid in the joint is called synovial fluid.

Does a popping joint indicate Arthritis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

I have found that it is not true that just because you have a sound coming from your joint that you have arthritis or will get arthritis. Arthritis involves joint swelling and pain and you can learn more at UW Medicine if you would like to learn more about arthritis.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a problem many people experience and in some instances requires surgery. If your wrist joints pop it is not a sure sign you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but problematic wrists should be monitored for those at risk for this condition.

Take Care of Your Joints

There are things you can do to take care of your joints. You can keep you weight and BMI within a healthy range, this will reduce the stress on your joints. You can also strengthen your muscles with exercise with weights to maintain their strength. These two things will also help prevent arthritis. For more tips check out Web MD.

Many factors contribute to the overall health of your joints. These are age, weight, injury, etc. Find out more about the factors at CNN.

Why does a joint crack during a chriopractor's adjustment?


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    • profile image

      DePuy Pinnacle Recall 

      7 years ago

      I think that regardless of whether you have arthritis or not, any popping or cracking sound produced upon movement is an indication to go see your doctor.

      I have had a DePuy hip implant in the past, and lately I've been experiencing some pain while performing the most simple activities like walking. I will also have this checked as there have been reports on the possibilities of a DePuy Pinnacle recall.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have ehlers danlos hypermobilty syndrome type three, at one time it was thought ehlers danlos syndrome type three and hypermobility syndrome were two different disorders, but it has now been reclassified as one disorder as above. In old fashioned terms I am double jointed as people used to say when I was a child, basically my joints move much more than they should and are not protected adequately by the ligaments which are more like jelly than the elastic quality they should have in other people. As a result of joint overuse over years and years it then causes arthritis and pain results from this as you can imagine. My joints are getting worse as I get older and arthritis has become a problem in several of my joints. Not every sufferer is hypermobile in all joints, I am as it happens and score top marks on the beighton scale, other people who have the condition may be hypermobile in just a few of their joints. I was born in 1955 but ehlers danlos syndrome was not discovered until 1963 so when I went to school and fell on the floor because my hip popped out of place (a joint can dislocate - come all the way out, or sublax - come partly out) the doctor did not know why it happened, and my knees would swell up and cause considerable pain which my GP put down to "water on the knee" when it was obviously caused by the fact that my knees are hypermobile and actually bend backwards, though he never even noticed! My hub Living with ehlers danlos syndrome may explain more.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hypermobility syndrome could also be a factor when it comes to popping cracking joints! Mine crack, click and clunk constantly and its not painful at all but more or less all my joints hurt these days and I score 7 on the beighton score and have about a million other symptoms of hypermobility syndrome too!

      Its really not very well known about so its hard who can even find health professionals who know very much about this condition which can be very debilatating and painful and is invisible too so people look at you as if you are making things up or just making it sound worse than it actually is.


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