Why Do I Pop & Crack at the Chiropractors?

Have you ever pressed your fingers together and heard popping? The sound is referred to as crepitus. 

Dr. Erica demonstrates this cracking sound made by the joints in her wrist and fingers. This sound is called crepitus.

Crepitus describes any grinding, creaking, cracking, grating, crunching, or popping that can occur when moving any joint. Joints are where two bones meet.Watch the video with Dr. Erica to hear these sounds. Crepitus can occur from: 

 

University of Alberta research team led by Rehab Med's Greg Kawchuk used MRI video to determine why joints make a popping sound when they crack. Read the full story here.

  • Cavitation in the joint: a partial vacuum forms in the synovial fluid, in the joint, and when it collapses it produces a popping sound. [2] This was recorded on MRI at the University of Alberta and can be observed in the video on the right. 
 
opll-spinal-ligaments-schematic-w-text.jpg
  • Rapid stretching of ligaments. The rapid stretching and moving over nearby structures also causes a snapping sound. This commonly occurs around the knees, ankles, and wrists. The spine also has many ligaments that run from each vertebra and along the entire spinal unit. 
 
The white represents the fascial adhesions. You may have seen these while eating meat. 

The white represents the fascial adhesions. You may have seen these while eating meat. 

  • Fascial adhesions under the skin can make a crackle sound when they get broken up. Under the skin there is a layer of fascial tissue. This tissue can get tiny adhesions in it, these rip and break when muscles gets stretched out, you use a foam roller, under go Graston treatment, etc. 

 

 


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4398549/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1005793/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/15/cracked-it-scientists-solve-puzzle-of-why-knuckles-crack-when-pulled

[Video] http://rehabilitation.ualberta.ca/news/2015/april/pull-my-finger-say-scientists-who-solve-knuckle-cracking-riddle