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What’s Up With My Noisy Joints?

What’s Up With My Noisy Joints?!   Patients/athletes frequently have questions regarding clicks, pops, or other noises produced during exercise or with particular activities during the day. It’s normal to be concerned about these things initially, but understanding them is very important so that a “noise” alone isn’t affecting areas of progress in your sport/training.  To discuss this further, it is important to decide if your joint/tendon noise is physiological or pathological. Physiological implies that the noise is created from your body but not necessarily from an injury/pathology state. This is usually pain-free. Some research has found that 99% of all knees make some crepitus (noise) regardless of pain or not. I can say that my knees, ankles, and shoulders have all made noises that are not painful and thus have not held me back from activity.  Pathological crepitus is more related to a condition such as a knee meniscus with catching/clicking, joint osteoarthritis, etc. With these, pain is present and correlated with noise. It is important to have a medical professional evaluate these conditions, as proper management will dictate success moving forward. There may be an acceptable amount of “noise” with an activity that allows for appropriate exercise to improve overall condition. There are theories about where these noises come from. These include joint cavitations causing more of a pop or tendons/connective tissue moving relative to the bone causing more of a “snapping sensation”. Most often these are only noises and nothing more. Unfortunately, often people will begin a pattern of avoidance due to the joint noise. This is more likely to result in weakness or decreased adaptation to the area and subsequent issues derived from the avoidance alone.    Overall, joint/bodily noise or “crepitus” with activity is a complicated/gray area that should be managed on an individual basis knowing the person’s past history with injury, activity habits, and goals. When in doubt, get a professional opinion by visiting with a physical therapist that works with motivated, active individuals like you!   Joey Przybyla, PT, DPT Up and Running Physical Therapy 

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Dr. AJ Cohen

Up And Running Physical Therapy

"We Help Runners And Active Adults In The Fort Collins Area Overcome Injury And Be Stronger Than Ever, Avoid Unnecessary Time Off, All Without Medications, Injections, Or Surgery."