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Are Noisy Joints Normal?

We’ve all experienced it—knees that snap when standing up or bending down, a neck that cracks when we turn our head, or ankles that pop when rotated.

Often, the sound of your joints cracking can be loud, and you might be worried about it. But rest assured, while creaking and snapping joints might be annoying, they are usually nothing to worry about.

Our team at Impact Med Zephyrhills discusses why joints creak and snap and if these noises are coupled with pain or swelling, it could be time to see a doctor.

Why Do Joints Make Noise?

As you get older, you might notice that your joints seem to be making more noise. As you age, the cartilage between the joints wears away as part of the normal aging process. The surfaces get a little rougher and you might notice more noise when they rub together.

Joint sounds can come and go as well depending on how you position your body when you sit or sleep as well as how you use your body when you move or are active.

Bottom line? It’s normal for your joints to make noise.

Where Does the Sound Come From?

There are a few reasons why your joints might pop and crack. If you are at the gym doing repetitive exercise, such as lifting heavy weights or doing pushups, you might notice a soft snapping or clicking when you bend your arm or leg.

This sound is usually caused by tight muscles rubbing and causing friction around the bone. This could also be caused by tendons rubbing over a bone. Try some gentle stretching and over time the snapping should decrease or disappear altogether.

When It’s Painful

If you notice a popping or cracking noise in conjunction with pain, you should see a doctor as you could have a chronic condition or injury.


Arthritis in the joints is a normal part of the aging process and the sounds you hear may be the result of arthritic damage to the bone or cartilage. Various types of arthritis can also cause swelling which can change how the joints of the body move.

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear type of arthritis that typically affects people as they age. The breakdown of the cartilage in the joints causes swelling and pain.

Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is the thin layer of cartilage that sits in between the weight-bearing joints of your femur or tibia. If the cushion is torn, the shredded or detached edges will get caught during movement causing swelling, pain, and popping or clicking noises.

Other joint problems may signal potential problems including:

  • A grinding or grating noise called crepitus is often an indication of arthritis
  • Tendons near joints rubbing over bones
  • Bursa, the small lubricating sacs of fluid around the joints can become inflamed and cause rubbing or snapping sounds.

If you are experiencing any pain that coincides with popping or cracking joints, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors at Impact Medical Zephyrhills.

Treating Creaky Joints

If the sounds coming from your joints aren’t causing pain, loss of motion, swelling, or weakness, they are likely not serious. Often these symptoms can be treated with non-surgical care. Physical therapy and chiropractic care can be quite beneficial in strengthening and lessening any imbalances in the joints and muscles.

Further, if you can, be as active each day as possible. Your joints need to move to be properly lubricated, so exercise, stretch, and stay as active as you can.

Relief from Noisy Joints

If you have creaky or noisy joints, our physical therapy and chiropractic teams at Impact Med Zephyrhills can help create a plan to strengthen your joints, relieve joint stress, and set goals to keep you active.

Better health starts here at Impact Med Zephyrhills. Call Impact Med Zephyrhills for a physical therapy or chiropractic consultation today; (813) 706-5156!