Joint Cracking (Joint Popping)
Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
The symptom of joint cracking is described differently by different people while nevertheless representing the same condition. Various descriptions for the same process include "popping," "exploding," "noise," "snapping," and "creaking" of a joint. The cause of joint cracking depends on a number of conditions. Situational information that is essential in detecting the cause of joint popping includes whether it a singular episode of sounds coming from the joint or if it is a repeatable, recurrent event.
Joint popping that occurs once only is sometimes a result of injury to the joint. Such causes of joint popping include ligament strain or ligament tear, tendon strain or tendon tear (tendon rupture), broken bone (fracture), and joint dislocation.
Joint popping that occurs repeatedly, sometimes intentionally, can be caused by harmless events, such as knuckle cracking or snapping of a tendon over a protruding bony prominence. Repeated joint popping can also be caused by conditions that represent more serious joint status, such as a cartilage tear from a torn meniscus or degenerated cartilage from arthritis (osteoarthritis).
The most common joint to be associated with joint cracking is the knee joint.
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.
Causes of Joint Cracking
In This ArticleBroken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
- What is a broken bone (fracture)?
- What causes a broken bone?
- What are the most common types of broken bones?
- Compression fracture
- Skull fracture
- Stress fracture
- What are the most common bones that are broken?
- Broken hand or fingers
- Broken wrist
- Broken hip
- Broken leg
- Broken toe
- Broken shoulder
- What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
- When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
- How is a broken bone diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a broken bone?
- What about surgery for a broken bone?
- How can fractures be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
In This ArticleDislocated Shoulder Article
- Shoulder dislocation facts
- What is dislocation of the shoulder? What causes a shoulder dislocation?
- What are the symptoms and signs of a dislocated shoulder?
- How do physicians diagnose dislocated shoulders?
- What is the treatment for a dislocated shoulder?
- What happens after reduction of a shoulder dislocation?
- What is appropriate follow-up following a shoulder dislocation?
- What are potential complications of a shoulder dislocation?
In This ArticleEhlers-Danlos Syndrome Article
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome facts
- What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
- What are the types of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes?
- What are the symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
- How are Ehlers-Danlos syndromes diagnosed?
- How are Ehlers-Danlos syndromes treated?
In This ArticleHypermobility Syndrome Article
- Hypermobility syndrome facts
- What is the joint hypermobility syndrome?
- What causes joint hypermobility syndrome?
- What are the symptoms and signs of joint hypermobility?
- How is joint hypermobility syndrome diagnosed?
- How is hypermobility syndrome treated?
- Can joint hypermobility syndrome be prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for those affected by joint hypermobility syndrome?
In This ArticleOsteoarthritis Article
- Osteoarthritis facts
- What is osteoarthritis?
- What causes osteoarthritis?
- What are osteoarthritis symptoms and signs?
- How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?
- "If I have minimal or no symptoms with early signs of osteoarthritis, what should I do?"
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with osteoarthritis?
- Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
- What does the future hold for osteoarthritis?
- Where can people get more information about osteoarthritis?
In This ArticleOsteochondritis Dissecans Article
- Osteochondritis dissecans facts
- What is osteochondritis dissecans?
- What causes osteochondritis dissecans?
- What are symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans?
- How is osteochondritis dissecans diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of osteochondritis dissecans?
- What is the prognosis of osteochondritis dissecans?
- Can osteochondritis dissecans be prevented?
In This ArticleSprains and Strains Article
- Muscle sprains and strains facts
- What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
- What causes a sprain or strain?
- Where do sprains and strains usually occur?
- What are sprain symptoms and signs?
- How are sprains and strains diagnosed?
- How are sprains and strains treated?
- What is the recovery time for sprains and strains?
- Can sprains and strains be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of sprains and strains?
- Where can people find more information about sprains and strains?
In This ArticleTorn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear) Article
- Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) facts
- What is the function of the knee joint?
- What is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)?
- What causes a torn ACL?
- What are symptoms and signs of a torn ACL?
- How is a torn ACL diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a torn ACL?
- How long does it take to recover from a torn ACL?
- What is the prognosis of a torn ACL?
- Can ACL tears be prevented?
Examples of Medications for Joint Cracking
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Get the latest treatment options