What’s Your Body Trying to Tell You?
Every pop, ping, ache, and pain has a meaning. Here’s when to take action.
Most Likely CausesThe fluid around a joint contains a variety of gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen. When you crack a joint, you cause the joint to stretch, which rapidly releases gas bubbles that snap, crack, or pop. The cracking sound could also be due to a tendon rubbing across bone.
Less Likely CauseIf you feel pain each time a joint cracks, it may be a sign of a cartilage or joint problem, such as arthritis.
What to do:
- If the cracking doesn't hurt, don't sweat it.
- If you have pain or swelling, or the joint is red or warm or has limited motion, see a doctor to find out what's going on.