Why do my bones crack so much?

Why do my bones crack so much? Gas bubbles form in the space between your joints that create a cracking sound. Bone cracks or pops because the air bubbles form in the fluid of synovial joints. You can make this popping sound after every 20 minutes. When the joints pressure is released, a pop sound is produced. Change in the posture results in the gaseous exchange in the synovial fluid (present in the synovial joints.). This causes a cracking sound.

:large_orange_diamond:Scientific explanation of bone-cracking:

Crack, pop, snap,… These are the sounds that many of you listen to many times in a day and may think that why does it happen? Many scientific explanations try to explain the reason for knuckles, upper back or lower back and neck cracking. But the predominant one that makes more sense is Bubble Collapsing Theory.

According to research by the Bioengineering group of the University of Leeds in 1971, this cracking sound is produced because of air bubbles forming in the synovial fluid.

:small_orange_diamond:Why does joints cracking happen?

A synovial joints are the type of joints that contains a fluid to prevent sudden trauma and causes lubrication. This fluid is called synovial fluid, which is somehow similar to egg yolk. When you increase the cavity between your synovial joints, a big air bubble is formed and when you release it, it makes a popping sound.

:small_orange_diamond:Bubble formation:

Many scientists think that there are two snapping sounds- one when the bubble forms and the other when the bubble bursts. And this air bubble mainly contains nitrogen, oxygen, and Carbon dioxide. In short, your bones crack due to the air bubbles forming in your synovial joints.

:small_orange_diamond:Why does cracking sound not produce immediately after cracking ones?

You may observe that this cracking sound is not produced immediately after doing it. It takes about 20 minutes to make this sound again because air bubbles take time to form.

:small_orange_diamond:Evidence that supports this explanation:

:black_small_square:Scientists performed MRI scans to know the truth behind this theory and it showed results in favor of this theory.

:black_small_square:Geometric representation of
Metacarpophalangeal joints also support this theory.

:large_orange_diamond:Theories related to bone-cracking:

Many scientists performed experiments to explain the reason for these popping sounds. These are some old concepts that people believe in the past. But now it is considered more accurate and also makes more sense than bubble collapsing is the cause of these snapping sounds.

1. Vibration in tissues:

Scientists believed that cracking happens because of the vibration of tissues around the joints due to moving or stretching.

2. Tightening of fibrous capsule:

Synovial joints are covered with a capsule called the fibrous capsule. During body motion, these capsules flap and become the reason for bone cracking.

3. Sign of arthritis:

People also think that cracking is the symptom of arthritis or may lead a person to arthritis. Umm… it is a symptom of arthritis but if it is not accompanied by any pain or swelling, it is normal.

4. Stretching of tendons or ligaments:

Tendons are the flap of tissues that connect muscles to bone and ligaments are the tissues that connect bone to bone. When we move or stretch or increase that cavitation between the joints, it also stretches and creates a popping sound. But it is an old concept.

A cracking sound is produced because of gas bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid. MRI scans also support this concept. In the past, scientists believed that bone cracking occurs because of vibration in tissues, tightening of fibrous capsules, arthritis, or stretching of tendons or ligaments.

:large_orange_diamond:5 Things you should know about bone-cracking:

Bone cracking is one such thing that makes people curious and may lead people to doubt that their bones are weak or they have arthritis.
Here are 5 things that you should know about bone-cracking:

1. Kalai Selven Kali Shanmugham set the incredible world record of cracking his 32 joints continuously.

2. Many people feel relaxed by cracking joints. It is observed that some people are used to cracking knuckles, back, or neck repeatedly. It is annoying for others but it is satisfying for them as it releases the pressure.

3. In medical terms, the cracking sound produced by bones or joints is called crepitus. Technically, it is considered that it happens because of osteoarthritis but gas bubbles formation and bursting can also be the cause.

4. Bone cracking is considered harmless if it is not accompanied by any pain or swelling and it also has no relation with arthritis. Although this snapping does not cause arthritis, it reduces the handgrip ability according to the research. In this research, they experimented on 34 people that cracked their knuckles repeatedly for many years, and in the end, they concluded that the strength of their hands to grip things was reduced.

:large_orange_diamond:Why do joints or knuckles crack feel good?

You may notice that knuckles or other joints cracking feel so good and satisfying. After sitting in the same posture for a long time, you mostly do self-cracking to relax. Do you wonder why it feels good? Here are the reasons why it feels good:

1. It relaxes your lower back.

2. It reduces the pressure between the joints.

3. It releases the tension.

4. The dissolved gases in the synovial fluid become a bubble when you increase the cavitation between the joints.

5. These gas bubbles burst and make you feel relaxed.

:large_orange_diamond:Ankle cracking:


  • Due to tendon flapping when you move
  • Due to gas exchange in joints

:small_orange_diamond:When you need to concern

  • If you feel pain or notice any swelling
  • If you have gone through any recent trauma or injury

:small_orange_diamond:Exercises to reduce ankle cracking:

  • Calf exercises

:large_orange_diamond:Knee cracking:


  • Gaseous exchange in synovial fluid causes knee popping
  • Due to stretching of ligaments
  • Due to slightly different anatomy of the knee makes one’s knee nosier than the other

:small_orange_diamond:When you need to concern:

  • If you face a recent sport injury
  • If you feel pain
  • If you notice swelling or uncomfortabillity

:small_orange_diamond:Ways to reduce knee cracking:

  • Do muscle strengthening exercises
  • Walk regularly

:large_orange_diamond:Jaw cracking:


  • If you open your mouth wider than normal like when you yawn, it results in jaw cracking.
  • If you face any facial injury

:small_orange_diamond:When you need to worry:

  • If you feel continuous pain along with fever
  • If you notice any lump

:small_orange_diamond:Ways to reduce jaw cracking:

  • Take pain killer
  • Ice massage your jaws
  • Seek medical assistance if the pain is unbearable

:large_orange_diamond:Neck cracking:


  • Nitrogen bubbles bursting in the joints

:small_orange_diamond:When you need to worry:

  • If sudden cracking makes your neck stuck
  • If you feel pain

:small_orange_diamond:Ways to reduce neck cracking:

  • Do gentle cracking

:large_orange_diamond:Back cracking:


:small_orange_diamond:When you need to concern:

  • If it causes pain
  • If you feel uncomfortable while moving

:small_orange_diamond:Ways to reduce back cracking:

  • You can do clamshell exercises as it lowers your back tension and there are many upper back exercises

You can crack your back, jaw, ankle, and neck. It is not harmful unless it causes pain or swelling. You can reduce these cracking habits by doing various types of exercises. Cracking your bones professionally: Do you know that there are many professionals called chiropractors who do back cracking to release tension? These spinal adjustments are done to relax your body.

:large_orange_diamond:Myths about bone-cracking:

There are many old tales about why joints or knuckles crack. Some of them make sense while many of them are hilarious. And interestingly, if you have read this article then now you know the truth. Bone cracking myths include:

1. Bone cracking is only related to age and it occurs only in older people.

2. Cracking your knuckles makes your fingers fat and your hands were swollen.

3. This popping sound results due to severe nutrient deficiency.

4. Bone cracking causes arthritis or increases the chances of arthritis.

:large_orange_diamond:When you should not do self-cracking?

1. The old person suffering from osteoporosis or osteopenia:

You should avoid self cracking repeatedly if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia. In this disease, bone density changes, and bones become weaker; therefore, it’s better to avoid.

2. Any recent trauma or sports injury:

If you have faced trauma, fall, or any sports injury then first consult the doctor. If there is no serious issue then you can do it.

3. A person with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome:

As your connective tissues already become weakened in this disease so it’s better to avoid cracking unless your doctor allows it.

4. History of disc slip:

It has seemed that back cracking can result in disc slip, but it is rare. Self-cracking can increase the chances of disc slip.

5. History of spinal surgery:

In spinal surgery, surgeons fixate the lower vertebrae with metal and it allows less movement of your back. And if you do back cracking, it can cause complications. Therefore, it is advised that you should take the doctor’s advice first.

:large_orange_diamond:How to stop bone-cracking habits?

1. Regular walk:

You should regularly walk to reduce the tension between your joints. Morning walk is the best thing you can do to minimize cracking. If your joints are in motion then tension releases on its own and you do not need to do it.

2. Exercise regularly:

Regular exercise has many health benefits. In addition to that, it reduces the tension between joints and makes your body flexible. There are many certain exercises that you can do to overcome your cracking habits. It also helps to reduce shoulder cracking.

3. Try to move after at least an hour:

If you are a person who has to sit for hours on the desk in front of a laptop to work or to study, you will feel back pain and this increases your urge to crack knuckles, back, and neck. Therefore, it is a great idea to squeeze out about 15-20 minutes to keep your body in motion. You can also do the gentle snapping.

4. Always be conscious:

If you want to stop your cracking habit as it annoys the people around you, you will try to remember your goal and avoid your urge of cracking as much as you can.

5. Take body massage once a month:

You should get a body massage once a month. This helps to minimize body pain and releases pressure between joints. If your body already feels relaxed then you do not need to crack. And then you leave your annoying cracking habits.

You can also crack your back professionally by the chiropractor. Ancient people believed in some false assumptions about bone cracking. You should not do cracking if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, disc slip, or history of spinal surgery. You can leave your cracking habits by doing regular exercise or walking or through body massage.


1. Does bone popping cause arthritis?

No, bone-cracking does not cause arthritis at all. Dr. Donald Unger was the scientist that disproved this myth by cracking his one left-hand finger repeatedly for about 50 years. And surprisingly after 36500 cracks, his both hands were arthritis free. But still, it reduces the gripping strength of hands.

2. Is knee crack, snap, or pop harmful?

No, especially when it is not causing pain. If there is no pain you need not be concerned. But if you got an injury or traumatic event happen then you probably seem to go to the doctor.

3. Is it okay to do self-cracking?

Yes, it is okay to do self-cracking as it makes you feel good and relaxed. As it relieves stress. Whenever you crack your back, neck, or knuckles, it releases the pressure between your joints and in turn, relieves. And it is also observed that people who do cracking are more flexible.

4. Is knee crack, snap, or pop harmful?

No, especially when it is not causing pain. If there is no pain you need not be concerned. But if you got an injury or traumatic event that happened with you, then you probably seem to go to the doctor.

5. Which bone pops the most?

Well, it differs from person to person but it is observed that the kneecap (patella bone) pops the most because we used these joints the most and it faces more bending and stretching.

6. Does bone crack because of calcium or any other nutrient deficiency?

These cracking sounds have no relationship with nutrient deficiency. But if these sounds are produced and you also feel pain, it could be a sign of calcium deficiency.

7. What joints can you crack?

Normally, people can crack their knuckles, back, neck and ankle. But Kalai Selven Kali Shanmugham is the person who can crack 32 different joints. It is observed that cracking makes the body flexible.

8. Do knuckles crack cause hand swelling?

Yes, it can. Research has been done to know the reality behind this statement. And it revealed that the people who do knuckles cracking have lower grip strength than the people who don’t. Also, these people have more chances of hand swelling.

9. Why do my bones crack when I stretch?

Cracking mostly occurs when you change your posture or stretch. During exercise when you stretch, you also hear this popping sound. Because when you stretch, it increases the cavitation between your joints. This results in the formation of air bubbles in the synovial fluid and its bursting creates a popping sound.

10. Why is it satisfying to pop joints?

Cracking joints make you feel good or relaxed because it reduces the pressure that is formed due to the presence of gas particles in the synovial fluid. When you crack, it causes the collapsing of these bubbles and in return, relieves the stress.

11. Is it ok to crack your back?

Continuously sitting in the same position may cause back pain and cracking your back will surely help you to minimize it. And it’s okay to do it. But repeated back cracking may increase the chances of disc slip or sprains.

12. Why are my bones cracking at 18?

You do not need to worry as it is normal unless you should feel any pain or you face any recent trauma. Stretching of ligaments or gaseous exchange in your joints can be the cause of this cracking sound. It may increase with age as the cartilage wears down gradually.

13. How long do you have to wait to pop your knuckles again?

You may observe that you can’t pop your joints immediately after doing it once. According to the research, you have to wait for about 20 minutes. As you know, bubble bursting creates a popping sound in your joints; therefore, it takes time to form an air bubble again.

:large_orange_diamond:To conclude:

Bone cracking is not a serious issue at all or anything that you need to worry about if it is painless. In contrast to that, it benefits you by relaxing your body and releasing the pressure between the joints. The only bad effect of knuckle cracking, that is known, is that it weakens the hand holding ability. But the biggest bad effect of bone-cracking to which no one denies that it annoys the people around you.

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