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Why Do My Joints Click?

Updated: May 10, 2022

Clicking joints are something that concerns many of us, especially the patients at The Green Room Physical Therapy … But what is the cause of it and why does it happen?

A joint that decides to ‘pop’ or make a clicking sound can sometimes feel worrying, especially as you get older. I’m sure that we’ve all moved at least once and felt our joints making a clicking noise whether this was in your knees, back, shoulders, or even knuckles.

The main thing to understand is that, more often than not, these noises are common and come along more so with the inevitable consequence of growing older. Chances are that if you’re 50+ (or in my case, 37), clicks and pops might even be one of the first sounds that you hear when you get out of bed on a morning, and it’s likely that you’ll hear your knees creaking or clicking when you bend your legs too… For me, it’s my shoulders, ankles, knees, and back, especially when getting out of bed.

Which is why all of our reading is essential for those aged 50+… We want to help you make better choices about your health and lifestyle. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and we help you to weed through what’s right and what’s wrong!

Why Do My Joints Make Noise?

Our joints make noises when the bubbles in the fluid that lubricates our joints pop, or when our joint surfaces rub against one another. Joint sounds can come and go depending on your posture, position, and how you move around… the bottom line is that joints simply can make a sound.

Knee Joints Clicking

The knee joint is probably one of the more popular places for our joints to click… Think about it!

We move around every single day, and it’s your knees’ job to act like a cushion that protects your body by absorbing the shock it receives each time your foot hits the floor. Aging and gravity take a toll on your knees and their cartilage over time.

As a result, the protective cartilage (the cushiony surfaces of the knee joint) can begin to wear down, which causes the clicking noises to start as your joints rub together. This is especially true when you’re around or over the age of 50.

Knuckles Popping

I’m sure we’ve all seen someone cracking their knuckles before… and I’m also sure that you’ve heard the old wives’ tale of it causing arthritis. Cracking your knuckles can annoy the people around you, but it probably won’t increase your risk for arthritis. At worst, knuckle-cracking may cause temporary swelling or a feeling of weakness in the hands — but arthritis, not quite. When you crack your knuckles, the sound is coming from compressed bubbles that develop in the spaces of your joints… remember that fluid we spoke about? That’s what it is!

“Bad” Clicking/Popping, Exceptions to the Above

A snapping hip, a “pop” in the back of your leg while jumping, or a pop in a joint during a fall or impact are exceptions to the general clicking and popping rules above, so if you’re unsure if your clicking or popping is normal, or a sign of something worse, please reach out to us (for free) to discuss your situation here

One way to distinguish a normal click/pop vs. an abnormal click/pop is whether or not it is accompanied by pain. If not, you’re likely good!

How Can I Stop My Joints From Clicking?

There isn’t one single reason why your joints will be clicking as much as they do, but there is one major solution that I recommend – keep moving. Pretty simple, I know. The more you move, the more you lubricate your joints.

Regular movement and exercise is ideal to keep your joints healthy, this is because it allows fluid to move around them and stops them from clicking as much.

Here are some pointers to get more active if you’ve been sedentary for a while…

Take It Easy to Start

Remember that we’ve been in a pandemic for 20(!)-months, your exercise levels may not be what they were 2 years ago. Make sure you take it easy and know your limits!

Stay Hydrated

By staying hydrated, you’re reducing the risks of cramp (which causes muscle sprain) and you’re also looking after your blood sugar levels which can stop you from feeling light-headed and dizzy!

Remember that too much of a good thing can be bad. Over-exercising can lead to exhaustion and issues with your joints (they might do more than just click!) so remember to always listen to your body.

We’re Here To Help…

For more tips on how to put an end to knee pain and stiffness – without taking painkillers, without risking surgery, and without having to wait to see the PCP, click here to request our Free Knee e-book!

If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you…. and we’re offering you the chance to have your first consultation Free!

If you would like to get one of our limited free consultations, give us a call at 518-326-3771.

P.S. Do you know someone with clicking joints?

Who do you know that is always telling you about their aches and pains? We would love to help them live a pain-free life too.

That person could be someone who you live with, work with, or an extended friend or family member, who is maybe suffering with some kind of ache or pain that we can fix. Forward this blog post full of health tips on to them. Even better, if you refer someone to come and see us at the clinic, you’ll be entered into our Referral for Rewards program, to say a huge thank you.

In good health,

Dr. Ashley Bertorelli, PT and Owner/Founder of The Green Room Physical Therapy

Ph: 518-326-3771

Clifton Park & Troy

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