What’s that sound? It might be your joints! Popping joints can cause discomfort and limited mobility, but you can stop it from happening naturally.
Crepitus is the medical term for the audible popping and cracking of joints that sometimes occurs with movement. The cracking sound is caused by air bubbles being “popped” in the soft tissues around a joint. While the most common joint to have crepitus is the knee joint, people can have crepitus of the shoulders, neck or ankles.
This joint popping can happen at any age, but is more common in older adults. Crepitus can also happen in individuals with osteoarthritis, patellofemoral pain syndrome (a.k.a, runner’s knee), and as a result of torn cartilage from an injury. One study published in the journal Clinics in Orthopedic Surgeryreports that nearly 1 in 5 individuals who have total knee arthroplasty develop post-surgical crepitus.
Traditionally, medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation, but research supports the effectiveness of several natural alternatives that work just as well.
Crepitus is often painless, but it can be accompanied by other symptoms that limit mobility and quality of life. The symptoms differ slightly based on to joint affected. In the knee, crepitus can be accompanied by pain when walking or bending the knee, knee swelling or soreness or stiffness along the inside of the knee. Symptoms of neck crepitus include stiffness and a limited ability to turn the head due to pain. Crepitus in the ankle can include swelling, stiffness, loss of flexibility and range of motion and difficulty standing or walking.
Severe crepitus may require arthroscopic surgery, debridement or joint replacement surgery, but mild crepitus can be managed naturally and cost-effectively.
Exercise can have a great influence on the symptoms associated with crepitus. For individuals with osteoarthritis, exercises that increase range of motion, strength and aerobic endurance are helpful. A few you can try in order to reduce stiffness include walking, swimming, gentle yoga and tai chi. For athletes who are injured and may have painful crepitus, modifying existing exercise regimens to be less rigorous can reduce pain and stiffness. The important thing is to keep moving.
Wearing shoes that offer good support to joints, or specially made orthotics, can reduce weight-bearing pressure and provide some relief to aching knees and ankles.
Managing inflammation is a major part of reducing symptoms associated with crepitus. Traditionally, medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation, but research supports the effectiveness of several natural alternatives that work just as well.
Studies have found that ginger root extract can be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs. In one study, ginger extract was just as effective as betamethasone (an anti-inflammatory medication) at reducing markers of inflammation, while ibuprofen had no effect.
Turmeric is another natural ingredient that can improve joint health. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines in the body. A review and meta-analysis of clinical trials published in the Journal of Medicinal Food supports daily supplementation of 1,000 mg of curcumin in treating arthritis symptoms.
Flexify was specially formulated for joint health and relief from aches and pains. It contains the recommended dosage of 1,000 mg of turmeric root extract, 200 mg of ginger root extract and five other clinically validated natural ingredients including chondroitin, boswellia, Vitamin D3 and MSM. Flexify was designed to provide natural support for healthy joints to improve mobility, comfort, strength, flexibility and joint lubrication.