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Most of the time a cracking, clicking, or popping sound that comes from the joint is actually nothing to worry about. These clicking and popping noises can have many causes, including movement of synovial fluid. If these noises are accompanied with pain or discomfort, however, you should seek medical advice. If you are experiencing clicking joints with pain then this may be something to be concerned about.
The medical term that is used to describe the grating or grinding of joints is Crepitus. The creak and grind of crepitus can occur when the rough surface or exposed parts of the bone come into contact. This noise can be associated with arthritis and is most common in the knee and the neck. It is also possible that an old injury, such as a cartilage tear in the knee, can cause joints to grind as you age. Crepitus is a prominent symptom of arthritis, either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is particularly common in arthritis of the knee joint.
The most common symptoms of crepitus are:
Typically, the most common place for a popping noise to come from is the hip joint (a snapping hip). This sound usually represents a tendon snapping across the hipbone. This motion can create friction and irritation to the soft tissues which can also cause pain. A snapping hip is not a problem unless it is accompanied by pain, reduced range of motion, or weakness.
A crackle or a crackling noise can also be felt or heard underneath the shoulder blade. Fibrous muscle tissue between the chest wall and the shoulder blade can turn a smooth glide into a bumpy sensation. This condition can occur with or without pain.
If your noisy joints are accompanied by pain or swelling, this might indicate a mechanical problem or an activity within or around the joint, such as torn or frayed cartilage. If you would like more information regarding your clicking joints, please contact us.