The joints crackle: What is the cause?

Cracking, crackling or creaking joints are quite common in the elderly. If this condition occurs frequently, accompanied by pain and other unusual problems, it could be a sign of serious bone and joint problems that you need to be aware of.

Let's find out the causes and ways to prevent joints from making noise in the following article.

What causes joints to crack?

There are many causes for joints to crack or click, including:

Joints crackle due to lack of joint fluid

Joint fluid or mucus is a lubricant at the ends of bones and cartilage. The main function of synovial fluid is to help joints move flexibly, reducing the phenomenon of friction between the two ends of the bones.

In the elderly, the aging process usually happens faster and more intense. The amount of synovial fluid at the ends of the bones also begins to decline, no longer enough to lubricate the joints. At this time, the ends of the bones will rub against each other, forming a crackling sound, sometimes accompanied by pain and reduced mobility.

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In addition, the lack of joint fluid is also the cause of the joints being dry and vulnerable, leading to diseases such as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, degenerative spine and disc degeneration ...

Joint bones creaking due to damaged cartilage and bone under the cartilage

Articular cartilage is a cushion that covers the ends of bones, helping to protect the bones from external impacts. Cartilage can be damaged and worn away by the aging process, trauma, strong impact... exposing the bone under the cartilage. When the ends of the bones are no longer covered by cartilage, they will come into contact and rub against each other to produce sound.

In addition to making the joints crackle, damaged cartilage or bone under the cartilage also causes sharp pain, soreness and swelling at the ends of the bones.

Due to tendinitis

Tendon is the connection between muscle and bone. When the tendon becomes inflamed, it can rub against the bone, creating creaks. In addition, tendonitis can also cause pain in the joints.

Due to rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, stemming from the body's defense mechanism against the attack of external factors. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause many symptoms related to bones and joints, including creaking joints. If rheumatoid arthritis is not treated properly, it will limit the patient's mobility and activities.

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The joints crackle due to osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in the aging process. Degenerative conditions often occur in parts such as knees, cervical spine, hips, heels, toes, fingers... because these joints are directly related to many movements of the body.

In addition to causing the joints to creak, osteoarthritis also causes swelling, dull pain in the joints, making it difficult for patients to stand up and sit down, sit cross-legged, squat... Besides, Osteoarthritis can also lead to problems such as joint damage, cartilage inflammation, and loss of joint fluid.

The elderly and people who are overweight or obese are at high risk of osteoarthritis.

Knees crackle due to joint sprains

Knee sprains are the result of knee osteoarthritis and knee osteoarthritis. When bone spurs form, they press on nerves and into nearby soft tissues. Therefore, patients with knee osteoarthritis are often tormented by pain, even when they are not active.

At the same time, the knee spurs also cause the cartilage to wear down, the joint fluid decreases, causing joint dryness. Therefore, when the patient moves, the two ends of the bones will rub against each other, causing a crackling sound accompanied by intense pain.

Alveolar calcification produces a creaking sound in the joint

Alveolar calcification is the deposition of calcium in the cartilage tissue and subchondral bone, most commonly in the knee joint. It usually causes sudden pain in the knee. In particular, when exercising vigorously, the patient will feel the knee crackling or crunching. In addition, in some cases, people with joint calcification may have a fever of 38ºC or higher.

Harmless creaking in the joints

Cracking joints can be just a normal, harmless, and unrelated phenomenon. These noises usually come from the sudden tension in the fluid-filled sacs inside the joint. For this reason, the sounds in the joints will not be accompanied by symptoms such as redness, pain, discomfort, etc.

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Is the condition of the joints creaking dangerous? When to visit?

Joints that make a sound when moving can be due to pathological causes. Therefore, you absolutely should not take this situation lightly, especially when the joints crackle or clump accompanied by symptoms of pain, redness, reduced mobility...

To accurately determine your condition, you should go to a hospital or a chiropractic clinic for an examination. Here, your doctor may do a physical exam, take your medical history, and ask you to run some tests to find the cause of the problem.

Treatment will be chosen depending on the specific cause, including drug treatment, surgery, physical therapy or home care measures.

How to prevent creaking joints

The crackling sound in the joints not only affects health but also makes patients feel anxious and stressed. Therefore, to avoid this situation, you can refer to the following simple measures:

Exercise regularly and in moderation

Proper movement and exercise can help keep bones strong, supple and prevent diseases related to bones and joints. You can practice gentle sports such as aerobics, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming...

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Working and working with the right posture helps to limit the state of joints creaking

Eat healthy, full of nutrients

Have a reasonable rest regime

Use functional foods that are good for bones and joints


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