What is that grinding sound my joints make?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2010 in Massage FAQ | Comments Off

There have been numerous occasions where clients have asked me if there was anything I could do to quiet their noisy joints. Whether it be knees, shoulders, or jaws, it seems everybody makes more noise while they move as they get older.

The name of this noise is Crepitus. Crepitus is a medical term to describe the grinding, crackling or popping sounds and sensations experienced in the joints.  It is possible that the noise is coming from scar tissue which is normal wear and tear on the joints.

This sound happens when two rough surfaces in the human body come into contact. As we age, we grind up our cartilage playing our various sports. Ripped your meniscus playing soccer all those years ago? You probably have a noisy knee.

Eventually, osteoarthritis can occur when the cartilage around joints has eroded away and the joint ends grind against one another. In soft tissues, crepitus can be produced when gas is introduced into an area where it normally isn’t present.

In my honest opinion, massage doesn’t do too much for cartilage damage – or at least I have not come across a modality that does. However, by alleviating tension for muscles crossing joints you can promote the health of the joint over the long term. Massage helps by restoring the muscle to its resting length promoting less tension on the joints. In addition, it always is helpful to talk to your Naturopath about any dietary or nutritional changes needed for healthy joints.

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