Cracking joints: The best tips, tricks & home remedies for cracking joints

Gelenke knacken: Die besten Tipps, Tricks & Hausmittel gegen knackende Gelenke

Many know the problem - go down the stairs to the toilet in the evening and your knees crack with every movement. Especially if you haven't moved for a long time, for example at work in the office, or after a cozy evening watching TV, it can happen that your joints crack after getting up.

But maybe you have often pulled your fingers or pushed your head to the side towards your shoulder and noticed that your joints then make a cracking noise. In this article we will show you what cracking joints are all about, when you should see your doctor and, above all, what you can do yourself at home against cracking joints.

the essentials in brief

  • Joint cracking can affect all of us at some point. Basically, the cracking of joints is something completely natural, but if the cracking is associated with pain, more serious diseases of the musculoskeletal system can also be behind it.
  • Preventing joint problems includes a healthy diet, sufficient exercise and, above all, drinking enough fluids. If you have previous illnesses, you should still listen to the advice of your doctor.
  • Some foods can have analgesic or anti-inflammatory effects that can help prevent or even relieve joint pain.

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Definition: What are cracking joints?

Cracking joints are when your joints make a loud cracking sound after, during, or during certain movements. This happens to everyone at some point and is completely normal, so it does not necessarily have to be a serious illness.

Background: What you should know about cracking joints

If a cracking noise accompanies you in your everyday movements, this can have various reasons. As already mentioned, these reasons do not necessarily have to be bad, but can also be quite simply natural. Nevertheless, in the following paragraph we want to talk about the reasons why joints crack, what exactly happens and much more.

How do joints crack anyway?

You've probably wondered how these noises in your joints come about in the first place. Researchers found that joints can snap apart when you pull on them or, among other things, through certain movements.

Joints pull apart and contract again.

When this happens, a kind of bubble develops, which only regresses when the joint is released. You can imagine this bubble as a hollow space. The result of this cavity is then associated with a sound - the classic cracking. (1)

Which joints can crack?

Basically all your joints can crack. The joints that crack most frequently are those that you also use for certain movements, such as walking or bending your arms, i.e. which ones you put the most strain on. Joints such as:

  • Knee
  • poor
  • legs or feet
  • Neck

Which joints make a cracking noise in the end is mainly related to which joints are frequently stressed.

What's behind cracking joints?

You must be wondering what has to do with your joints cracking. Cracking joints can often have various causes. Most of the time, cracking is completely normal because, as already mentioned, when the joints are pulled apart, a cavity is created, which is then expressed with a cracking sound. (1) However, joint diseases such as arthritis can also be behind this, especially if the cracking is associated with pain.

Scientific research has shown that arthritis is 50% genetic and occurs mostly in women and the elderly. If left untreated, this disease causes severe joint damage, which greatly reduces the quality of life. It is therefore particularly important to diagnose joint pain at an early stage in order to be able to start appropriate therapy in good time and avoid chronic damage.(2)

Who is affected by cracking joints?

If you thought cracking joints mainly affected older people, you were wrong. Since joints can crack in everyone, there is no special age. However, it must be said that joint problems affect older people in particular, since the joints wear out with increasing age and can therefore cause pain. Furthermore, according to studies, for example with arthritis, women are more affected than men. (2)

When should I see a doctor for cracking joints?

As we mentioned above, you don't have to worry about cracking joints. However, if the cracking lasts longer or occurs more frequently and the cracking or moving of the joints is perhaps even associated with severe pain, you should definitely see a doctor to rule out more serious illnesses.

stethoscope and pills

If you have had joint problems for a long time, if the cracking sounds strange or different and you may even feel pain, you should not hesitate to consult a doctor. (Image source: unsplash / Markus Frieauff)

If you do have a more serious or chronic condition, you usually don't need to worry. With the right treatment and appropriate therapy, you can continue to move freely in most cases.

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    of bones, teeth, muscles and joints at đź’Ş
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  • Get an automatic 21% discount when you buy now đź’¸*

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*The discount is automatically applied to the product

How can I prevent cracking joints?

Preventing cracking joints is not that easy, as joints often crack naturally. However, depending on how prone you are to joint diseases, you can prevent them, secondary diseases such as arthritis. Decisive criteria for healthy joints are:

  • Nutrition: The right nutrition is very important for your entire body and can help you to prevent certain diseases. In the lower part we deal more intensively with nutrition, but it can be said in advance that berries in particular can also prevent joint problems. (6)
  • Fluid: Drinking enough fluids such as water or unsweetened tea is particularly important for your entire organism and thus also your joints. (9)
  • Exercise: Proper exercise is essential, especially if you are doing activities that require you to sit for long periods of the day. Thus, the movement is a good balance and helps you to stretch and strengthen your joints. (10)
  • Dietary supplements: It must be said that dietary supplements are not essential and are not suitable for all people. However, it has been proven that supplements such as collagen contribute to healthy joints. (8th)

So you can say that you can do your joints good with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. Furthermore, drinking enough water is essential for maintaining healthy joints.

Furthermore, a study was able to prove that collagen is also very good for maintaining the joints. For example, collagen capsules or collagen drinks can also relieve joint pain. The participants in the study took a collagen preparation daily for a certain period of time, with the majority of the participants showing improvements. (8th)

Are cracking joints good or bad?

Actually cracking joints are not bad. If you were also told earlier that finger cracking is a bad thing and can be unhealthy for your joints, we can more or less reassure you. Researchers have tried and failed to find a link between children's finger cracking and later joint problems. (11)

Likewise, no study has so far been able to say that cracking joints is healthy. That's why it's important that you see a doctor if you notice cracking joints so that you can rule out more serious illnesses.

Therapy options: The best tips & tricks for cracking joints

If you are often accompanied by cracking in your joints and you may already be feeling pain or your movement is restricted, we have a few helpful tips for you here. However, it is particularly important to say in advance that if you have a chronic illness, you should still visit the doctor or ask for advice.

However, in order to be able to do something good for your joints in everyday life, we have written down a few points for you here that are good for your joints, contribute to keeping your joints healthy and can even alleviate any pain.

Nutrition

You can contribute to keeping your joints healthy with a proper and conscious diet. Certain foods can also help you prevent or relieve joint pain. In this paragraph we have selected some foods for you that are good for your joints:

Groceries Effect
olive oil Regenerative effect on cartilage (3)
Fish Anti-inflammatory effect(4)
turmeric Pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effect(5)
Berry Prevent joint problems(6)

According to a scientific study, olive oil has a certain ingredient that has a regenerating effect on articular cartilage. This was the result of a study on rats that regularly consumed olive oil and showed the first improvements in joint injuries after about 8 weeks. (3)

As you may know, fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that these omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as salmon or trout, have an anti-inflammatory effect on joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. It should also be noted that oily fish in particular, such as mackerel, salmon or sardines, have a particularly large amount of omega 3 fatty acids. (4) If you don't eat any animal products, you can also use plant-based alternatives .

Whether fresh or powdered, turmeric can have a really good effect on joint pain and is also anti-inflammatory.

Turmeric is now a true superfood!

US studies have shown that turmeric can reduce the intensity of pain in arthritis by up to 50 percent. This effect can be achieved with just half a teaspoon of powdered turmeric, which you can take daily. (5)

healthy breakfast

Eating healthy and, above all, the right food can very well contribute to the maintenance of the joints, or even alleviate joint problems. It is important that you inform yourself sufficiently about the effects of individual foods. (Image source: unsplash / Brooke Lark)

Berries are not only delicious, they are also very healthy. Whether you choose strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, these types are super healthy fruits and can protect your joints. In one study, researchers were able to find out that the antioxidants and vitamins contained in the berries protect the cells on the one hand and can even prevent joint problems such as arthritis on the other. (6)

Movement

Even if you doubt why movement, which is often very painful with joint problems, should be good for your joints, studies have shown that movement does help.

But stop if you feel pain!

So although excessive exercise is rather harmful to your joints, conscious exercise is very helpful. (7)Movements that are easy on the joints, such as simple walks, are particularly helpful. When exercising, also make sure that you supply your body with sufficient minerals .

weight training

You're probably wondering what strength training has to do with joints, since you probably associate strength training with muscles rather than with joints. Specially designed strength training can also be good for your joints, but it is important to have experts guide you so that the exercises are not counterproductive for you and that you do them correctly. The right strength training can help you to relieve joint pain and build joint muscles.

stretching

Stretching is always important, whether you already have joint disease or just want to prevent it. Basically, you should stretch before doing any sporting activity to avoid injuries and tears to your ligaments, muscles or joints.

It also doesn't hurt to include stretching in your daily routine. You can look at special stretching exercises on the Internet, or have your doctor or physiotherapist show you suitable stretching exercises.

physical therapy

If you are unsure about certain exercises, or you are in severe pain or your doctor has instructed you to do so, then it is also worth seeing a physiotherapist. In physiotherapy, you can perform special joint-friendly exercises that help build and strengthen your joints and muscles.

Physiotherapeutic treatment

Physiotherapy can help a lot with joint problems. However, it is important that the exercises are individually tailored to the body. (Image source: unsplash / Conscious Design)

In addition, physiotherapy also includes certain massages, which loosen up your muscles and joints and are therefore good for your entire musculoskeletal system.

Conclusion

As you can see, cracking of the joints is quite normal and usually happens when you move body parts that you haven't used in a while, but even with heavy loads, your joints can start to crack.

In some cases, when the movements are painful, arthritis or other joint problems may be behind it. You should definitely have arthritis clarified by a doctor so that appropriate treatment or therapy can be initiated.

In the case of minor joint problems, switching to a special diet, such as lots of fish or berries, can often achieve a significant improvement. However, not only the diet, but also a well-coordinated exercise is important. If you want, or if your doctor tells you to, you can also go to physical therapy to improve the strength of your joints.

Itemization(11)

  1. Kawchuk GN, Fryer J, Jaremko JL, Zeng H, Rowe L, Thompson R (2015) Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0119470. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119470
  2. Scott DL, Wolfe F, Huizinga TW. rheumatoid arthritis. lancet 2010 Sep 25;376(9746):1094-108. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60826-4. PMID: 20870100.
  3. MDPI and ACS Style Parkinson, L.; Keast, R. Oleocanthal, A Phenolic Derived from Virgin Olive Oil: A Review of the Beneficial Effects on Inflammatory Disease. international J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 12323-12334. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms150712323
  4. Lankinen M, Schwab U, Erkkilä A, Seppänen-Laakso T, Hannila ML, Mussalo H, Lehto S, Uusitupa M, Gylling H, Oresic M. Fatty fish intake decreases lipids related to inflammation and insulin signaling--a lipidomics approach. PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5258. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005258. Epub 2009 Apr 23. PMID: 19390588; PMCID: PMC2669180.
  5. Yurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. Erratum in: Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):277. PMID: 19594223.
  6. Sesso HD, Gaziano JM, Jenkins DJ, Buring JE. Strawberry intake, lipids, C-reactive protein, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):303-10. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719615. PMID: 17906180.
  7. Nagao M, Ishijima M, Kaneko H, Takazawa Y, Ikeda H, Kaneko K. [Physical activity for knee osteoarthritis.]. Cline Calcium. 2017;27(1):25-30. Japanese. PMID: 28017942.
  8. Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908x291967. Epub 2008 Apr 15. PMID: 18416885.
  9. Ma GS. [Hydration status and health]. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2019 Apr 6;53(4):337-341. Chinese. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.0253-9624.2019.04.001. PMID: 30982263.
  10. Benedetti MG, Furlini G, Zati A, Letizia Mauro G. The Effectiveness of Physical Exercise on Bone Density in Osteoporotic Patients. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Dec 23;2018:4840531. doi: 10.1155/2018/4840531. PMID: 30671455; PMCID: PMC6323511.
  11. Swezey RL, Swezey SE. The consequences of habitual knuckle cracking. West J Med. 1975 May;122(5):377-9. PMID: 1130029; PMCID: PMC1129752.
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