Refinery29: Dr. Armin Tehrany explains why cracking joints is not necessarily a worrying thing
The leading global media company that creates content to inspire, entertain, and empower young women, Refinery29, has recently published an article that aims to explain whether cracking joints is a normal or a troubling thing to occur.
For the purpose of the story, the editor has reached out to the founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care and one of the top New York Orthopedic doctors, Dr. Armin Tehrany, to provide an expert opinion on the question whether cracking joints negatively impacts the overall health of the joints.
While there are people who crack their joints whenever they feel the need to do it, there are also people who experience the cracking while working out. However, in both scenarios, the cracking is followed by a sound that people tend to find unpleasant and odd.
According to Dr. Tehrany, it’s perfectly normal for people to crack their joints or the joints to crack by themselves. Moreover, the main reason why cracking produces a sound is not unnatural at all.
“Our joints contain the gases oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which make up something called synovial fluid,” explains Dr. Tehrany.
“When our joints are overextended, the synovial fluid will create gas bubbles that ultimately produce the pop or crack sound you hear,” Dr. Tehrany continues.
Working out can also cause the joints to crack, and that is completely normal since that’s when the body performs a variety of movements, often performed with an additional weight. However, the sound during a workout can be utterly different from the sound produced when joints are cracked on demand.
“Sometimes when a joint moves, the tendon that surrounds it may move out of place,” adds Dr. Tehrany. “When that tendon shifts back into its place, then you might hear a snapping or cracking sound.”
Despite what people believe, cracking the joints does not necessarily imply a problem with the joints. However, the cracking sound can be an early sign of arthritis or crepitus which is degeneration of the joint surface commonly experienced in the knees.
“Look out for signs of pain, swelling, limited mobility or warmth near your joints and the area that is cracking or popping. Those can be signs of a bigger issue that would require a doctor’s attention,” Dr. Tehrany concludes.
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