Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Orthopedics Forum

Suddenly cracking in many joints

Must Read
Think you might be experiencing bone loss? Check out this Intro to Osteoporosis and evaluate your risk for developing bone weakness. ...
Although bone mass loss is normal as we age, some people are more at risk of developing osteoporosis than others. Are you at risk? More here....
Do you have severe back pain? Do your bones break frequently or with little pressure? You might be experiencing osteoporosis. Found out more here....
In the past few days I notice that many of my joints crack. I'm male and 30 years old. I have cracking in my knees,elbows,wrists and also my toes when I walk!
I do not take any medicine and didn't change anything which could explain why suddenly my joints crack.
I also have a longer history of pain in my knees and wrists and I also have been having persistent pain in one of my finger knuckles. I got an MRI of my hand and it also showed nothing except a slight swelling of the tissue beneath the skin and yet I have been having pain for over 1 year now when I bend my finger and it doesn't get better at all.
I'm very worried about all these things and no doctor can help me. I have also been to an osteologist who ran expensive blood tests and also found nothing. I don't know what else I can do. Whenever I went to an orthopaedist
with pain or cracking he was never able to help me or tell me what's wrong.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 20th, 2012
cracking joints and bones
Hi Samjj!

I hope you have found some answers by now, I owuld suggest seeing an anatomist, a registered massage therapist?
Somone who does body work.

Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied September 21st, 2012
Especially eHealthy
For those who are interested, the sounds coming from the joints (described as popping, snapping, cracking, "cellophane" sound, bricks rubbing together, and many, many more) is called benign crepitus.

Unfortunately, the cause of the sounds is not known. Just like when you crack your finger knuckles, the sound produced is a type of crepitus. But, what causes the sound is still not known.

However, there are a few sounds emanating from specific joints which do have a known cause. Such as the low clunk of a joint (usually the shoulder or hip) reducing itself after subluxing or the snapping of a tendon across the front of the hip joint, known as "snapping hip syndrome".

But, in general, the snap, crackle, and pop heard coming from the knee and ankle joints is just crepitus. The loudness of the sounds vary from very loud (you can hear the patient walking down the hallway) to very soft (basically the "sound" can only be felt within the joint but now actually heard).

And, there is no correlation between the sounds and pain within the joint. Some patients have very loud crepitus, but have absolutely no pain in the joint whatsoever. And, the reverse is also true; some patients have very minimal crepitus, but have significant pain in the joint.

Thus, except for the few specific incidents of known sounds, crepitus has no specific treatment. And, usually does not require any. If a patient is having pain in the joint, then the source of the pain should be investigated (not the sound).

Many years ago, orthopedic surgeons thought that the crepitus was coming from the cartilage on the underside of the patella being rough (like a cat's tongue). So, they did surgery to shave down the cartilage, to make it smooth. However, this did not take the patient’s pain away. All it did was make the cartilage thinner, so it wore out faster. Thus, the surgery was abandoned.

But, a new group of orthopedic surgeons came about and though that they could do a better job with the use of the arthroscope. They did not learn the lesson of their predecessors. So, they went in and shaved down the cartilage, using arthroscopy. It also did not work, just made the cartilage thinner. Thus, this procedure has also been abandoned.

Thus, the sound coming from the joints is called benign crepitus. Its cause is not known. It has no correlation with any pain a patient may be having in a specific joint. And, there is no actual treatment that will make the crepitus go away.

Hope that explanation helps.
Did you find this post helpful?
Users who thank Gaelic for this post: Melu 

replied November 7th, 2012

I have the same issues and have been advised to look into Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Good luck and if you find a definitive explanation, I would appreciate hearing about it!
Did you find this post helpful?

replied July 25th, 2013
the cracking sound is from bubbles
The sound that cracking knuckles make is actually not a "crack" at all, but a pop! When your knuckles crack, it is due to air bubbles in the synovial fluid popping.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 7th, 2014
Always joint bubble theory and nobody knows.
all this bubble theory, doesnt explain why people suddenly start have cracking from joints all over their body. It is much more likely that some lubrication function, nutrification of tissue has gotten out of order. And why you self has to try to change some basics in your life, thats probably all you can do. If you change stuff youre much more statistic unlike to catch some overload. No matter if its allways eating the same bread, always coffee, always the same electronic odeurs from a computer, allways the same skin cream, allways the same way of getting exercise, no matter what, variation is a simple statistic way, other ways are more drastic like only eatin salad and carrots, and is likely to disturb you in another way. Maybe you should just go dancin every saturday Wink
Did you find this post helpful?

replied October 27th, 2017
gluten intolerance?

I just wanted to share what helped me, because I suffered like you in the past, too. I had that constant cracking of my joints, too. It was in every joint (fingers, feett, back, shoulders,...) and it varied from day to day. I was really dsperate about it. In the internet it says always that this is not a problem but actually it was a big problem for me because it was so loud and it did hurt when I did not crack my back bones . Also, I had diarrhea very often and did also not know what that was all about. Finally, it turned out, that these symptoms were both caused by an untetected gluten intolerance. I would never have linked the cracking to this!
After not eating wheat, bread and pasta for one month all of these symptoms got way better for me.

But of cause there can be many causes, this is just one possibility. Just wantedd to share.

Kind regards
Did you find this post helpful?