If you've ever heard a loud pop as you bent down to pick something up, you'll be relieved to know that it's normal for your joints to make these sounds.

Many things can cause popping and cracking noises, like the rubbing or snapping of soft tissues for example. Joints move – that’s why we have them. So it’s normal for ligaments and tendons to interact with other tissues or bones during movement by sliding over or rubbing against each other.

Nitrogen gas is another possible culprit for noisy joints. Sometimes a bubble of gas develops in the fluid that lubricates your joints. When you move the joint a certain way, the bubble can burst, creating a popping or cracking sound.

It might be annoying to hear your joints creak, but it’s not a sign of bad health. Unless the noises are accompanied by joint pain or swelling, there’s nothing to worry about.

Trauma or overuse of joints, arthritis, bone disease and certain types of infection are just a few possible causes of joint pain. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing pain, swelling or warmth around the joint.

For long term joint health:

  • Maintain a healthy weight — Excess weight adds more pressure to your joints. Not only that, but obesity is a risk factor for both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis.
  • Quit smoking — Like obesity, smoking is also linked to an increased risk of RA, as well as lower back pain, overuse injuries and sprains.
  • Get regular exercise — Strong muscles help protect joints from stress by absorbing shock. Low-impact activities like biking and swimming are ideal.

You might not have to worry about your joints popping or cracking now, but it’s a good idea to treat them well — you’ll need them to carry your body around for the rest of your life.

Still worried about your joints? Find a physician who can help you decide if your joints are healthy!