Many of us who have stepped into the gym are probably familiar with the popping sound most commonly found in the elbow, shoulder, wrist, back and knee. Do you wonder the reasoning for this and if it could be something to worry about?
Noises in the joints can be quite disturbing and cause concern. Good thing is often, these noises are not an indication of any underlying problem. Knee cracking and popping usually sounds much worse than it is. Such noise often persists for years without any real problem developing. The key is if there is no pain with cracks or pops, you can assume it is being caused by the soft tissue in a joint. The tendons snap a little like plucking guitar strings. Another reason is because of a release of gas dissolved in the fluid of the joint. Sometimes joints make crunchy noises due to small bone fragments in the joint, like sand under a steel wheel. Joints can also make popping noises when they dislocate but are usually associated with extreme pain.
The bottom line is this. If you hear pops and clicks with no associated pain in a joint, you may want to begin some conditioning exercises to improve the overall integrity of the joint. If the muscles are strong, they will take the weight off of the joint and relax the pressure on those articulating surfaces. If there is pain along with those joint noises, there may be structural damage building in the joint, and it would be wise to see a physician for a proper diagnosis.
A proper warm up before exercising; as well as looking into taking some glucosamine and/or fish oil (which are supposed to increase the synovial fluid within the joints; your joint’s grease!)should help reduce the popping sound and stiffness of the joints. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the fitness staff at the Seattle Athletic Club.