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Do you have clicking joints?

As an Osteopath, I regularly get asked “My joints are really clicky!, Is that noise bad?”

Firstly, this phenomenon is perfectly normal. I advise that certain joints may make audible sounds depending on the condition of the surrounding tissues. If they are not supporting the joint in its natural position, this may lead to noises being heard. If there is no pain associated, then there is nothing to worry about. We need to remember our body isn’t a static environment and is constantly looking for new “space” to play with in response to the demands we place on it.

Asymptomatic symptoms of clicking joints

If there’s no pain with the audible noises (we call this noise crepitus), but the motion of the joint in question is affected, for instance there is decreased range of motion. This can indicate that there are some soft tissue changes that may require work relating to strength or postural re-education to increase range of motion and the health of the tissues.

Symptomatic symptoms of clicking joints

If these audible clicks, cracks, or pops are painful during motion, then further investigations are warranted to detect whether there are any bony or soft tissue changes that are causing the pain. MRIs can be helpful to analyse pathological changes to bone, cartilage, or other soft tissues. An X-ray can help establish any changes to joints; whether there is wear and tear, or a degenerative process that could be causing the joints to click, crack or pop due to the uneven surfaces and the grinding of the joints.

Some cases may require a surgical opinion depending on the condition and the chronicity like an arthroscopy of the knee cartilage. Occasionally, steroidal injections may be preferable for inflammatory reduction and some pain relief.

So, if your joints are clicking for no apparent reason with pain or no pain, why not come in for a ‘click’ check to see if there is anything wrong?
Our services at Horsforth Health Hub include Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Podiatry & Acupuncture.