Everything you Need to Know about Cracking Joints

Have you ever had a stressful day and the crunchy crackle of your knuckles made you feel better? While the exact reason for the cracking sound in joints is not known, it can occur when nitrogen gas is released from the joints when they are put under pressure. Another reason is when there is a cavity formed around the joints due to rapid movements. It can also occur when a ligament tears, due to an injury. It is not inherently bad, but if pain follows after the cracking, it could be signs of underlying injuries such as damage to the cartilage, tendons or ligaments.

Cracking Joints: Causes and Remedies

As mentioned earlier, there can be several reasons for the joints to produce a cracking noise. Cracking joints can be done at different parts of the body. These include cracking ankle joints, cracking ear joint, cracking finger joints, cracking hip joint, cracking knee joint, and more. 

While some studies have shown that it could be the release of nitrogen, some studies done using MRI scans show that it results due to a cavity formed during swift motions at the joints. It can also occur due to an injury, which becomes a case of concern and might need medical intervention at the earliest. 

Cracking Joints Remedy

While there is no need for medical intervention , or major life threatening consequences of cracking joints, simple remedies, mostly preventing yourself from unconsciously cracking them, the following might help maintain order in behavior.

Avoid quick motions with your body, as it can create stress in the joints, which can create cracking. This will also help reduce any kind of injury to the bones, tendons and ligaments. Trying to keep movements fluid and slow, can reduce the cracking of noise.

Taking breaks between monotonous work can also help reduce stress on the joints, and can help keep them free from cracking.

Cracking your knuckles frequently could mean signs of stress or anxious feelings. If you can identify stressors for the times you crack your knuckles, it can help reduce the cracking.

Occupying your hands with other forms of stress relievers such as stress balls, fidget spinners, etc might reduce the frequency of you cracking your knuckles

Why Do People Love Cracking their Joints

People seem to enjoy cracking their joints for various reasons. For some it is a great stress reliever, when the joints go “kkkkkrrrrrrrrkkkkkk”, allowing them to take a momentary break from a monotonous task. For others it can be ways of coping with a stressful social situation such as talking to new people, navigating in a public space, etc. 

These are some of the main reasons why people love cracking joints all over the body, as it helps in providing temporary relief to pain or stress.

Is Cracking Joints a Bad Habit

While there has been no major study that says it is inherently a bad habit, it becomes a concern, as it can lead to various injuries, if done incorrectly and frequently. This can result in wear and tear of bone joints, ligament tears and discomfort in movement. They can also be underlying reasons of stress, or anxiety, that might need to be addressed, in order to ensure that this does not repeat frequently

What are the Side Effects of Cracking Joints

Since it usually is a harmless process, sometimes, when done frequently can result in injury to the joints. Frequent cracking can result in damages to the bones and ligaments. It can also become addictive, and may not be acceptable in certain social situations.

When to Seek Professional Help

A good time to visit a doctor would be if the pain in the joints interfere with your daily activities. If the pains do not go away, and cracking does not help, it could be signs of other medical conditions. If the pain is constant, sometimes accompanied by fever, they are markers for you to visit a doctor.

If the joints have swelling, or causing pain, they are also signs to see a doctor.