T Nation

Joint Popping

Real simple: Why the hell do (my) joints ‘pop’?

You all know what I’m talking about. What’s the physiological reason for this?

I believe its gas escaping from the joints or something to that effect.
:slight_smile: groove

This migth sound kind of werid but…

Everytime i squat past my knees, butt to floor, my fucking knees always crack. It sounds like the cereal rice crispies when you poor the milk in. This happen to anyone else?

its called crepitous i think.

Its not harmful unless accompanied by pain.

There are 2 common reasons for it.

  1. Like groove said, Nitrogen escaping the joint space… im still coming to terms with how this can possibly make soo much noise but apparently it is a real reason. An orthopedic surgeon told me once is one of many drs who i have asked that told me this…
    I think an example of this type of crack is when i crack my knucles. After i crack them they will not crack again immediately (perhaps signifying that the nitrogen has been released)

  2. Tendons whiping against the bone… apparently if a joint is a little loose a tendon or ligament will whip against the bone making a noise… this theory is easier for me to visualize.
    An example of this I think may be, my left shoulder, it has a little extra movement and 8 times out of 10 when i do a certain movement with it, it makes a rather loud cracking noise.

These arent two seperate opposing theories behind cracking, i think they are the two most common reasons for cracking.

its because you didn’t take the seeds out before you rolled…oh, you mean elbows , knees etc… I don’t have that problem. I’m 34 been lifting for 16yrs, and played soccer up through college. Like I said in another post about joint problems…listen to your body.

could be a couple things

crepitus generally refers to roughening of articular cartilage(not meniscal), which covers the ends of your femur and tibia(it’s present in every joint in your body). normally articular cartilage is totally smooth and has a coefficient lower than zero(i.e. no friction). when it roughens it can cause a grating sensation, this can also lead to a decrease in syvinol fluid. if this is what you’re feeling, it isn’t good…and generally takes a long time to get better if it gets better at all. articular cartilage is avascular, which means it gets little/no blood supply and is slow to heal if it heals on it’s own at all. unfortunately I’ve had to learn about this due to my own knee problems.

could be meniscal tissue which you’ve torn and is popping in and out of place.

could be your patella popping in and out of it’s track.

could be tendons popping over bone.

could be gas, although I’ve never heard an OS or any health professional say that to me.

some knee noises are of little concern. if it begins to bother you, best thing to do is seek out a sports OS in your area and see what he/she has to say.

If it hurts, get it checked. If it doesn’t hurt, I don’t tend to worry about it. Every last joint in my body pops/cracks, especially in the morning. Everybody else already covered the nitrogen vs. tendons bit…go to howstuffworks.com, they’ve got a decent explanation of it.

Oh, don’t worry–no joint problems here. Just curious.

Hehe it does freak other people out doesn’t it?? :slight_smile: I’m always cracking my neck for some reason and people always jump…