What is Crepitus?

Crepitus Definition

Crepitus is actually the description of a sound. For instance, when we breathe, one of the sounds that we hear in the lung sometimes is called crepitus. It’s a very broad diagnosis and can encompass a variety of issues.

So all crepitus really is is a sound. Often you will find crepitus in joints, and is very common in knees. People can sometimes have crepitus of the neck and sometimes in their ankles. Essentially it’s a crackling of the joint.

Crepitus Symptoms

You can even have crepitus in your neck, but one of the types of crepitus is a tiny gas bubble that forms and collapses within the joint. This type of popping does not typically cause pain.

What can happen, is the tendons and ligaments repeatedly snap over the joints, body structure, etc. This snapping can sometimes cause pain.

Crepitus Causes

Sometimes if you have continuing use of that joint, you might have a degeneration of the cartilage over the ends of those joints. But what happens is the synovial fluid that makes it soft between the joints that will get worn down? This can happen if you have old injuries, poor alignment, or wear caused by repetitive motion of the joint. Crepitus of the hips, neck, and shoulders can be typical.

So what are some of the causes of crepitus? Rigorous exercise, sudden increase in exercise, repetitive movement in a joint can all lead to conditions related to Crepitus.

Is Crepitus Bad?

Does crepitus need to be treated? Usually it does not cause concern. In fact, most people’s joints crack and pop occasionally and that is considered normal.

But if the crepitus is regular and accompanied by pain, swelling or other concerning symptoms, it can be an indication of arthritis or another medical condition. So in my friend’s situation, she had probably developed some other inflammation and pain, even heat in the joints. Here is what we know about crepitus in the knees: look at the structure of the knee joint. The two C shaped cartilage between the thigh in the shinbone are called the meniscus. These enable the boy bone to glide smoothly against each other. A thin layer of tissue, the synovial membrane covering the joint produces a small amount of synovial fluid. This helps to lubricate the cartilage. The underside of the knee cap has a lining of cartilage as well, and that cartilage can rub together on the end of the femur bone and the troop trochlear clear area with abnormal wear, causes a grinding, which is another type of crepitus.

Often you might see an air bubble and damage to the joint. Sometimes the damage can cause pain, swelling, serious problems such as an injury to the cartilage in the synovial fluid. 

Crepitus Treatment

So what are some of the things that you can do to help crepitus? 

  • Regular, gradually increasing exercises like physical therapy supporting the joint. 
Knee Brace - Elastic Support
  • Using an elastic knee brace can help relieve stress, giving the knee the feeling of support, and tells the body to send more blood to the area
Knee Brace – Support for Running & Walking
  • Wearing supportive socks can also improve the circulation. When you get inflammation around a joint that lacks blood flow, you’re actually causing the body to not be able to repair itself. Do not ignore the pain.
  • Rest, ice, and anything that you can use that’ll include CRE, can decrease that inflammation in the joint. 
  • Maintain optimal weight. Excess weight will add tension on that joint. So it’s kind of a catch 22: It’s hard to exercise if you can’t use your knees, but if you are carrying too much extra weight, then you’re increasing the risk of injuring your knees.

REST is a helpful acronym to remember in treating crepitus:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation 
Resting Joints can be very healing

Natural Remedies for Joint Pains Related to Crepitus

An anti-inflammatory diet consists of reducing inflammatory response. This diet involves reducing some sugars, refined foods and adding whole wheat nutrient-rich foods. An anti-inflammatory diet also contains increased amounts of antioxidants which are receptor molecules in food that reduce the number of free radicals, so that means your vegetables, your cruciferous vegetables in particular, those are going to be really good for you. 

Here are some other natural suggestions that can be implemented into your diet:

  • Avoid sugar and white flour desserts
  • Avoid potatoes and similar foods can also help relieve harmful effects surrounding crepitus
Herbs of Earth Turmeric & Black Pepper
  • Implement Turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory, into your diet
  • Try and essential oil mix called Deep Blue that helps relieve the pain and inflammation around that joint. Because if you can work through and get rid of that inflammation around the joint, you can get better circulation in your joint. 
  • Cypress oil really helps to break up inflammation around a joint. Sometimes if you notice soreness way above or below your joint, those are signs that you’re not getting enough circulation to the joint.
  • Eat more omega fatty acids. Coconut oil is a really good one to help decrease inflammation. Two tablespoons of coconut oil a day is recommended. 
  • Take a collagen supplementation 
  • Bone broth is great at reducing crepitus 

Final Thoughts

Although Crepitus is not in itself harmful, it can be a sign or lead to some other problems in the joints. Practicing overall joint care and support can help prevent pain and other associated concerns. 

If you experience any joint issues, try some of the natural joint remedies I suggested and let me know how it goes. 

I hope this was educational for you. Click the video below if you’d like to hear some more of my thoughts on the subject and learn about how I do research on topics like these. 

Crepitus of the Knee

Resource for this article:

Until next time, Be Well!
Nurse Mary

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