“Your bones make crunching sound, they will be deformed soon” we heard this a lot of times from our elders, but it’s true??
Some people get this crunching sound from their joints while moving and some make this sound by cracking their knuckles.
But have you thought about it? Where this crunching sound comes from?
This crunching sound is also called Crepitus.
When cartilage around the knee rubs on each other while moving, this sound is created.
Where your patella (knee cap) meets the femur (thigh) bone, movements between them cause crepitus.
While cracking knuckles, nitrogen bubbles get compressed and create a crunchy sound. This sound is completely normal.
Which joints make the most noise?
The shoulder joint is the most affected joint, as the shoulder joint has more moving joints attached to it and most tendons cover the bones.
Knee makes this sound when it is bent.
Why do people crack their knuckles?
There is nothing wrong with cracking your knuckles but other people can get annoyed with it due to the distracting sound.
Some people are habitual of cracking sounds. When they crack their knuckles, the sound makes them comfortable.
While some people feel, by cracking knuckles the stress in the joint reduces and they will get better mobility.
Nervousness is another reason. When you are nervous your body shakes more, or you tap your feet. The same way some people keep their hands busy cracking knuckles when they are nervous.
During stress, people crack their knuckles to divert their minds.
And the last reason is when you do it daily it becomes your habit.
When to concern?
Crunchy sound from your bones/joints is completely normal unless it causes pain to you.
When this crunching sound causes pain, these may be the reason –
Arthritis – It’s a normal aging process.
Due to aging the cartilage and bone gets damaged and create the sound. In osteoarthritis movement of the joint becomes painful.
It is wear and tear of the joints due to age. Initially, it creates only a crunchy sound, followed by pain and swelling in the joints.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFP) – If there is any injury behind your patella or kneecap, you will experience a crunchy sound with pain.
Meniscus Tear – Meniscus is a thin layer between the joint of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (calf bone). This layer can be damaged in sudden jerky movement like playing or if you fall down.
Meniscus tears can create crunchy sounds but are painful.
Treatment of painful crepitus –
If there is mild pain in joints with crunchy sound you can take anti-inflammatory medicine or use RICE therapy that is
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
Physiotherapy – It will help you to strengthen your muscles and increase your range of motion.
Splint/brace – In case you have an injury and that causes painful crepitus, splint or brace helps to keep the joint aligned with support.
Surgery – In some cases, arthroscopic surgery can be done to remove damaged tissue.
And in severe cases, joint replacement surgery is done if the joint is damaged severely.
Tips to avoid cracking bones –
- Be aware when you crack your joints and consciously stop yourself.
- Think about the underlying reason behind your cracking.
- Do exercise or meditation to avoid stress.
- Keep your hand busy with some toy or with squeezing rubber balls.
The crunchy sound from the joint is normal but to avoid further complications and keep your bones healthy, keep following things in mind.
- Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes.
- Swimming and gyming are the best exercises.
- Try different exercises and activities. As repeatedly, the same exercise can cause chronic injury.
- Sit upright with support to your back and feet to touch the floor. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle. Keep a small gap in between the back of the knees and the edge of the chair.
- Maintain your posture throughout the day.
- Don’t sit for a long time, take frequent breaks and walk around.
- Don’t bend directly, instead sit on your knees and lower down.
- Walk upright.
- Always sleep in a lateral position or on your back.
- Take a sunbath to get enough Vitamin D.
- Keep your diet rich in calcium, including food like milk, milk products, custard apple, drumsticks.