Why do the joints creak?
Crackles and pops on knees, ankles, neck, wrists and hips are experienced in a high percentage of the population, and lack of knowledge can lead to their cause concern because they are a harbinger of arthritis, osteoarthritis, degeneration or injury.
The first thing to understand is that noises can result from several situations, some accompanied by pain, and sometimes not.
“Harmless” thumps: cavitation
It is estimated that these arise when occurs change in pressure and volume within the bursa of the joint because of a sudden change in position thereof, in the limit of travel of the physiological movement without exceeding the limit anatomical.
Examples include sounds produced when knuckles creak, or voluntarily rotate the neck. It is also characteristic of manipulative practices such as physiotherapy or osteopathy.
By increasing joint stress, the dissolved gases in the synovial fluid (natural joint lubricant) create small bubbles bursting doing similar to a clicking noise. This can happen again soon (about 20 minutes in normal synovial fluid to liquefy again).
As can feel who usually do, cavitation causes a series of relaxing reflex reactions momentary structures and near the joint or muscle in it (a good example is the manipulation of the joint in the spine). One might think then that is a phenomenon minimally invasive, soothing and can be repeated when necessary.
Although there is little evidence about whether these clicks are good elicited continuously, one of the most important is the one who made Unworthy et al. (1971), revised by Poméro and Bonneau (2002) which they concluded that this phenomenon repeated regularly causes micro injuries in articular cartilage.
In fact, joint support by low speed drive mode (without causing crack so noisy) relaxation. This includes decoaptation of the joint surface where if it burst the intra-articular air, would be less intense as that performed at high speeds.
Crunches capsulo-ligamentous involvement and / or cartilaginous
Injury and / or retractions capsulo-ligamentous joint (not confused with scapular retraction) can cause audible noise and to be some discomfort for a while, with possible swelling around the joint.
If the cause is due to a worn cartilage, crepitus is therefore interosseous rubbing, as the case of osteoarthritis (OA) and noise is more common in the knee and neck and also can progress. The joint integrity depends largely on the distribution of bearing forces, thus proper alignment is essential for proper operation. Abnormalities of this alignment (trauma, injury or strength deficit of the muscles involved in their support) predispose to this type of disease.
In this situation since the degree of degeneration of cartilage can not correlate 100% with the amount of pain you may feel, it depends on how you have trained pain pathways in the brain, it is advisable activity physical.
In the degenerative process, cartilage has a poor blood supply and exercise has shown to improve the oxygen supply to the soft tissues. Of course, it is prudent to prioritize low-impact activities on high; which does not mean that the latter are always contraindicated because it depends on each person.
Projections of external tendons
The best known example is the “coxa saltans” (hip spring), in which the shoulder tendon fascia lata on trochanter occurs. In cases like these, tendons rub the edge joint producing a jump in its movement and generating an audible noise.
This usually occurs when the tendon is inflamed quite repetitive motion, so the pain is usually noticed before the noise. Before overstretching the machine, it is advisable to reduce inflammation by applying cold and rest, even active, reducing activities that lead to overreaching the affected tendon.
Internal projections caused by internal structures (menisci, synovial thickening) do not have to be painful, and occur more frequently in lax persons or discoid meniscus (meniscus disc-shaped, not necessarily caused by sporting just cause).
The sound of the projection occurs at a certain time in which they find overvoltage by pinching; and suddenly it released. They can also be caused by “joint mice” (loose bodies of cartilaginous composition) locking the joint and make momentary stop until released.
- There is no evidence that it is bad joints creak. Although it may even be beneficial in specific circumstances, one has to easily cause these noises, it is advisable not to abuse because the existing gesture indicates that continued punishment produces a weakening of the joint.
- Do not confuse gnashing of cavitation (decoaptation) with the sound of the projection, which can itself be a symptom of possible (or start) injury.
- The pain will be important to better understand the extent of the problem associated with articulate sound sensation. While not cause pain or before, during or after; It will be a sign that there is no fear that is happening nothing particularly worrisome.