We all would have cracked joints for uncountable times by far. We do not consider it worth keeping a note of, as for us, it is a non-harmful activity. It is definitely not harmful if the popping is not accompanied by severe pain. At times when a joint is cracked, negative pressure is applied to the specific joint that pulls nitrogen gas temporarily into the joints.
Knuckles, knees, ankles, back and neck are the muscles that can or can be cracked. When you stretch the joint capsule, you crack joint, which means gasses contained in the muscles are released rapidly, causing bubbles and bursting of bubbles results in the sound of a pop. You would have noticed that once you have cracked your knuckles you have to wait for a while for it to be cracked again. This is because, once the bubbles burst, the fluid need some time to create new bubbles.
When a person having a healthy body cracks his joints intentionally; his tendons snap over the bones. Tendons basically connect our muscles with our bones are quite elastic in nature. So when you pull your joint for a refreshing crack, the tendons get a pull and make a pop like sound, just like an elastic band’ sound. A healthy joint crack involves getting of the tendon back to its normal position after the pull. This indeed happens all the time. Be it a minor crack or a major one, there would be variations in terms of the elasticity of the pull and intensity of the popping sound but it can’t cause any serious disease to the muscles or bones.
Another condition of popping the joint includes snapping of tendons over tissues. Our gliding paths at times need minor adjustment because of the change in muscle mass and action. So tendons make slight movements and snap over tissues which might give a quick and pain-free pop, which is completely fine and safe.
Patients of arthritis shall avoid doing intentional cracks as swollen tissues generally snap by themselves due to irregularities. Apart from that it can loosen up the cartilage further and also has a tendency of injuring the ligaments.
There is a strong myth that people believe in. According to the same, cracking of muscles can lead to osteoarthritis. This condition includes excessive degeneration of cartilage supporting the joints. Muscle stiffness and joint pain are its symptoms and is caused due to unattended injuries, obesity and hereditary. However, no studies have yet proven a solid connection between cracking of joints and osteoarthritis. It no way means that you should make cracking joints a hobby of yours. If it is done on a repetitive basis, you may also experience pain due to abnormalities of joints and tendons. Having a severe pull can also injure the ligaments and may need professional care. Locking of joints or fracturing the same are also resultants of excessive cracking. It is definitely rare to happen but not completely impossible.