Joints are common spots for injury. Although cracking and popping sounds are not an injury unto themselves, they can be a precursor to joint problems. There can be many causes for popping and cracking, such as dehydration, vitamin deficiency or simply air trapped in the joint. Typically, a cracking or popping of the joints is harmless and perfectly normal, but you should see your doctor if there is pain.
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Joints allow you to move and function. They are made up of ligaments, cartilage, tendons, two or more bones, fluid and membranes. The bones are connected by the tendons and ligaments while being supported by the cartilage and fluid. When any of those are not functioning properly, injury occurs. A common occurrence is cracking or popping, especially under load or bending of the joints.
Being dehydrated will cause many health problems, one of those can be popping joints. Water is the main component of cartilage, and without it the joints will have less support and cushion. As cartilage wears away water is used to transport the nutrients necessary to repair it. But without water no new cells can be formed and the cartilage will remain damaged.
There are 13 essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly. One of those is vitamin D which helps regulate blood calcium levels. The sun provides vitamin D but during the winter when the sun is weaker and less prominent, it can be hard to obtain. Also, as you age your body does not absorb as much vitamin D and deficiency will occur. This deficiency will result in a creaking or cracking of the joints during movement.
Air commonly gets trapped in joints and when bending occurs that air is forced out and a popping sounds results. During activities such as running and weightlifting that results in a bending of the joints, this is very common and harmless. But if you experience a sharp pain during the popping or it is a chronic pain then you should see your doctor. A sharp pain could indicate a dislocation and chronic pain may be a result of Iliotibial Band Syndrome.