Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
Joint Popping and Cracking
If your joints pop and crack, you’re not alone. In fact, most people experience this phenomenon — especially in their fingers and knees. Usually joint cracking and popping doesn’t need to be treated. However, if the cracking and popping in your joints is accompanied by swelling and pain, you should be evaluated by an orthopaedic physician.
Joint Popping and Cracking: What You Need to Know
- No one knows exactly what causes the common sounds of joint cracking and popping. It could be caused by ligaments stretching and releasing or by the compression of nitrogen bubbles in the spaces of the joints.
- Joint cracking and popping on its own does not require treatment. It is normal, and these joint sounds may also increase with age.
- If you hear a popping sound in your joint and experience pain and swelling, you may have an injury that requires treatment.
Why choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of joint popping and cracking?
Request an Appointment
Already a Patient?
Traveling for Care?
Whether you're crossing the country or the globe, we make it easy to access world-class care at Johns Hopkins.