(30 second read)
Ever wondered why your joints click and if it’s normal?
There are all sorts of myths flying about but there are 3 main reasons as to why your joints click:
1. The first main reason is gas, this can build up within the joint and suddenly pop out of the joint when the joint is stretched or compressed with force.
2. Tendons sometimes slip over bumps on our bones and when this happens it clicks – this is not usually a problem. Occasionally it can be due to poor joint positioning or ligament damage.
3. Rough surfaces - Regular clicking of joints could indicate arthritic problems - the joints are held under tight compression that causes the two bone surfaces to rub back and forth on top of each other causing pain.
Does forcibly clicking your joints cause harm?
Yes, repeatedly manipulating your joints to crack them (usually needed because of a build up of gas in the joint) (i.e your fingers, knuckles, neck or toes) can destroy the supportive ligaments and eventually the joints can move out of position much easier (dislocation). The looser your joints are the more likely the joints may develop degenerative arthritis or pain. You can loosen that stiff feeling (needing to click joints) with less long term harm by stretching and mobility work to the joint.
So those myths about knuckle cracking causing damage which coul possibly lead to arthritis may be correct, HOWEVER the occasional clicking of our joints when your stretching or exercising is most probably one of the first two reasons above and this is likely not something to worry about especially if it is not painful and occasional, just ensure you are stretching and performing joint stabilising exercises often with the correct form when doing exercise.
If you do have any pain in the joint get it checked by a professional before it gets worse!
If you have any questions fire below,
BSC Sport and Exercise Science
REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer