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Clicking Joints


Joints that click, crack or pop (crepitus)

Many people notice a popping or clicking noise when they’re moving about throughout the day and this can be experienced anywhere in the body.  As a result, I regularly get asked, is that noise bad? Normally, with my understanding of the human body, I advise that certain joints may make audible sounds depending on the condition of the tissues: if they are not supporting the joint in its natural position, this may lead to noises being heard. If there is no pain associated, then there is nothing major to worry about. All you need to do is identify the tissues that require conditioning and treat them with our specialist services at Perfect Balance whether this be through stretching or strengthening muscles or mobilising joints. 

One Sunday morning, I decided to do more research on this via cited articles (as I do!). Research suggests that these noises can be either symptomatic (occur with pain) or asymptomatic (without pain).

Asymptomatic symptoms of clicking joints

If there is no pain with the audible noises, but the motion of that particular joint is affected, i.e., there is a decreased range of motion, this is defined as audible noises (crepitus) This means that there are some soft tissue changes that may require work relating to strength, postural education and core endurance (depending on the area) to reduce the crepitus, increase the range of motion and the health of the tissues.

Examples of ways to fix this that we can help with include soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisations or exercise plans. If you find that your back clicks a lot then a child’s pose or back extension exercises are a good place to start. 

Symptomatic symptoms of clicking joints

If these audible clicks, cracks or pops are painful on motion, then investigations are needed into whether there are bony changes or soft tissue changes that are causing the pain. MRIs can be helpful to analyse pathological changes to bone, cartilage, or other soft tissues. The other option is an X-ray, which can show any changes to joints, whether there is wear and tear, or a degenerative process that could be causing the joints to click, crack or pop due to the uneven surfaces and the grinding of the joints. A common pathology of this is arthritis which can be treated with regular manual therapy. This may, however, require an operative route depending on the condition and the chronicity. If not, then there are steroidal injections that may be preferable for inflammatory reduction and some pain relief. It should be noted though that this is only a short term relief of the problem and doesn’t help the root cause. 


Our services at Perfect Balance, including Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Sports Therapy, and Pilates and our Rehabilitation, can help with the non-operative option.

So if your joints are clicking for no apparent reason with pain or no pain, why not come in for a click check to see if there is anything wrong?

For more information about Clicking joints

If you would like additional information about ankle exercises for Clicking joints or to discuss how we may be able to help with your issues, please contact us using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.



  1. Kuhn, J.E., Plancher, K.D., and Hawkins, R.J. (1988). Symptomatic Scapulothoracic Crepitus and Bursitis.?Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 6(5), pp.267?273.
  2. Conduah, H.A., Champ, L., Baker, L.C., and Champ, L. and Baker, L.C Jr. (2012). Clinical Management of Scapulothoracic Bursitis and the Snapping Scapula.?Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 2(2), pp.147?155.
  3. Brandt, D.K. (2010). Osteoarthritis Diagnosis: Avoid the Pitfalls.?Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. 27(11) (abstract article).
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