April 1, 2013 Popping or cracking of any joint in the human body has often been said to cause future problems in the joints. The fact is that the cracking of certain joints are known to be caused by specific reasons. When there is no pain occurring at the same time a joint pops or cracks it is unlikely there is any damage to the joint. Causes and Reasons for Joint Popping and Cracking It is actually normal for the joints in the hands, ankles, feet, neck and back to pop and crack. If sound occurs on its own with no force applied externally the sound is totally normal. If a person repeatedly forces such cracking and popping, there is always the danger a joint can be damaged if too much pressure is applied. If hand pain occurs after repeated forced cracking there could be another type of problem, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This is not caused by popping of joints in the hand but could be worsened by forced cracking of the wrist. Release of Gas in Joints The main reason for popping joints is the sudden release of gas that has built up in the joint. Our joints have a cushioning fluid that contains nitrogen, oxygen and CO2. When the joint bends, either naturally or with light pressure externally the gas is released from the area of the joint, causing the sound. A person might notice that usually that joint cannot crack again for some period of time. That is because the gas must reform in the joint before there is any gas to escape and repeat the sound. Ligament Misalignment Misalignment of ligament tissues can make sounds as they snap back into place. If this type of sound occurs and there is knee joint pain it is advisable to see a bone doctor for a diagnosis of the problem. What is that popping sound when I crack my neck/ back? Check out more in this video Arthritis as a Cause As we age and experience arthritis, our joints may make sound because we have lost some of our smooth cartilage material that helps guide and cushion our joints. Normal joints are smooth while arthritic joints are rough and this difference is also a possible cause of sounds in joints while they are making normal movements. The older the patient, any occurrence of repeating knee joint pain, hand pain or constant back pain is cause enough for a visit to a bone doctor. Even though popping sounds as described above have normal causes, young children should be cautioned that continued forcing of this sound could accidentally cause harm to the joints.