Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH


Most people sometimes hear cracking or grinding noises (called crepitus, crepitation or cavitation) while moving their neck, knees or other joints. These sounds are normally painless and usually do not represent anything serious.


Crepitus may occur in any moveable joint such as knee, wrist, knee or neck where there are many moveable joints. Joints are bathed in an oily-like substance called synovial fluid, which lubricates joints preventing friction between the bones.

The underlying cause of crepitus is still not perfectly clear but a research published in 1971 and 2015 suggested that the cracking sound of a joint could be caused by either the bursting or creating a gaseous bubble in synovial fluid (1, 2). (VIDEO >)

According to another similar theory, when you move the joint and stretch it the pressure in synovial fluid decreases and part of the fluids in the joint turn to gas, and when it becomes gas, it makes a popping or cracking noise.

Some sources also suggest that the cracking is triggered by a snapping noise of rapid stretching of ligaments or tendons moving over bones (3).

It is possible that the following lifestyle factors contribute to the changes in the synovial fluid: Dehydration of synovial fluid (caused by drinking insufficient amount of water & diet low in fruits and vegetables), poor blood circulation in joints (caused by lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and dehydration of joints), and nutritional deficiencies (especially lack of boron, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and antioxidants caused by consuming refined product, foods high in sugar, soil depleted of minerals, etc.)

In case the cracking noise is accompanied by pain and swelling it is probably the result of inflammation and damage of synovial fluid and joints typical for arthritis in which bones robe each other.


As long as crepitus is not accompanied by pain and swelling it shouldn’t be a reason for concern. But if you want to get rid of it try the following:

Exercise will help strengthen knees and ankles.

– Good hydration is needed. Drink at least ten glasses of distilled water or clear herbal teas every day.

Boron (3 mg two or three times a day). Boron is one of the most important supplements to maintain healthy joints.

Vitamin D3 – 30,000 IU a day with meal for two months and 10,000 IU a day after that. Since vitamin D supplements lead to magnesium deficiency, and because according to recent studies almost every in the UK person is now deficient not only in vitamin D but also magnesium, you must take 400 to 800mg of good quality magnesium every day.


WATCH VIDEO: What Makes the Cracking Sound? Explained by Dr. Lee Pierce >


The adoption of principles described in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN > will gradually eliminate the cause of the problem.



  1. Unsworth A, Dowson D, Wright V. (1971) ‘Cracking joints’ A bioengineering study of cavitation in the metacarpophalangeal joint. Ann Rheum Dis. 1971; 30: 348-358.
  2. Kawchuk GN, Fryer J, Jaremko JL, et al (2015) Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(4): e0119470. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119470
  3. Protopapas M, Cymet T, Protapapas M (2002). “Joint cracking and popping: understanding noises that accompany articular release”. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 102 (5): 283–7. PMID 12033758


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