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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes noisy joints?

    I'm finding my joints can be quite noisy going up stairs and during exercise.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Jane Watson


    Jane Watson is a leading physiotherapist based in the Upper North Shore servicing locations like Wahroonga, Pymble, Turramurra, Gordon, Thornleigh and surrounding suburbs. Jane's approach … View Profile

    As people get older, degenerative changes or wear and tear, occurs in joints. The result is that they don’t move as smoothly. Cartilage tends to wear down resulting in grinding or crepitus (audible grinding) in joints. Poor bio-mechanics tends to accentuate the wear and tear process.

    Poor muscle control around the joints can decrease the stability and cause poor anatomical alignment.

    To help resolve this, a person can strengthen the muscles which may be weak and stretch those that may be tight.

    Good, upright posture helps facilitate good joint alignment and correct muscle action.

  • 2


    Dr Andrew Lim


    Andrew has a Masters in Chiropractic and his interest in Sports Chiropractic has led him to treat many athletes from junior to elite levels in … View Profile

    Noisy joints can indicate a few different things.
    If the noises occur everytime you bend or move, it is likely that there is grinding/rubbing of the joint surfaces i.e. cartilage as you move through the range of movement. Over time this could lead to excessive wear and tear of the joints. As Jane pointed out, generally poor mechanics and dysfunctional movements cause the muscles, primarily the quadriceps, to tighten up and grind the knee cap onto the femur bone.
    Another noise could be the tendons flicking or rubbing over something. Or the joints popping when the joint is straightened.

  • 2


    Dr Marco Makari


    Dr. Marco Makari is a chiropractor and a qualified AFL sports trainer who specializes in rehabilitation therapy and musculoskeletal injuries. He graduated from the prestigious … View Profile

    Geat question!

    Noisy joints usually indicate that 2 or more surfaces are grinding against each other. 

    One example is when cartilage is displaces in a joint and it causes it to grind against other structures in the joint. This however rarely occurs outside the knee and shoulder joint.

    Another reason why normal anatomy may be causing such sounds is  a tight joint capsule. This brings 2 surfaces close to each other and they tend to cause sounds with movement. 

    It's recommended you see a health care practitioner who can examine the joint/ joints and provide you with the best possible managment strategies. 

  • 1


    Dana Rader

    Exercise Physiologist

    Dana Rader is the owner operator of GYROTONIC® Melbourne. As an exercise physiologist she is passionate about the health benefits of exercise. Dana has been … View Profile

    All good answers, from your description sounds a lot like crepitus, which can also be a sign of osteo arthritis. You do not mention if this is causing you pain as well or you are only experiencing the noise. Probably would be worthwhile to see a physio or sports doctor for a diagnosis. Based on the outcome strengthening all the muscles, tendons, ligments and connective structures around the joints to support them, and reduce compression would be useful.    

  • Grant Frost


    A senior physiotherapist with a background in effective management of most common and uncommon physical injuries and dysfunctions.My interests lie in not only the successful … View Profile

    It is important to note that any noises are abnormal.

    We tend to associate those clicking, grinding and crunching sounds with wear and tear, particularly in the older population.

    We do however see a wide variety of abnormal sounds eminating from younger joints and tissues.

    Poor tissue mechanics and posture tend to be the overwhelming causes of these issues in both the young and old. Have a 'clicking' shoulder? The chances are that one or both of your daily shoulder posture or overall shoulder mechanics aren't quite good enough.

    It may not necessarily be painful, but healthily functioning tissue should not feel dysfunctional.

    The wear and tear we see linked with noisy tissue in the older populations tends to be a direct result of years of abnormal mechanics and postures mentioned above. The orchestra of pops, clicks, and cracks that play in your knee every time you squat are a direct result of the way you have loaded that tissue for a long time.

    The positive is that by aiming to uncover and fix those abnormal postures and mechanics, you should at the very least aim for those issues to decrease or disappear altogether.

  • 1


    OsteopathyMyofascial ReleaseAcupuncture Voice Dialogue facilitator View Profile

    Hi there, noisy joints are common. Another reason that may lead to a noisy joint is the soft tissue ( ligament, tendon and fascia) that surrounds it. When we dont stretch and have some release techniques to perform, these supportive structures can rub against the irregular bony surfaces.

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