Are Noisy Joints During Yoga Normal?
Ways to Protect Your Joints
Walking, bending, and performing everyday tasks become much more difficult if you develop a joint condition. Take a look at these five tips that will help you prevent joint damage.
Yoga sessions are often accompanied by plenty of natural sound effects. Understandably, it can be a little disconcerting if a chorus of popping and crackling sounds erupts when you bend your knee to perform the perfect tree pose or arch your back during the cobra pose. Luckily, these sounds are not a cause for concern, in most cases.
Why Do Joints Crack and Pop?
The sounds you hear may occur due to several reasons:
- Popping Bubbles. The synovial fluid in your joints contains nitrogen bubbles. The fluid helps reduce friction between your joints and cartilage when movement occurs. When you bend your knee or tilt your neck, you disrupt those bubbles, causing a snapping or popping sound called crepitus.
- Insufficient Warm Up. You may hear a cracking or snapping sound if a tight muscle rubs against a bone. Warming up loosens your muscles and prevents these sounds.
- Fixation. Joints can become fixated if you don't move them for a while. If you raise your shoulder or bend your knee, the suction between the joints will break with a loud popping sound.
- Poor Alignment of the Knee Cap. Cracking or popping sounds can also occur if your knee cap is not properly aligned and does not drop smoothly into the grooves in the joint.
Is Cracking and Popping Dangerous?
Cracking or popping usually does not indicate a serious problem. If the sound happens every time you perform a certain motion or is accompanied by pain or swelling, it could be a sign that the cartilage has deteriorated in the joint. This often happens if you develop osteoarthritis, a common degenerative joint disease that is can be caused by years of wear and tear.
What Can I Do About Cracking or Popping?
Occasional cracking or popping cannot be avoided, but if the sound effects are due to other reasons, you can take steps to reduce the noise, including:
- Spend More Time on Warm Up. Warm muscles are looser and less likely to rub against your bones. Incorporate poses that help stretch your muscles, such as the mountain, upward hand, standing forward bend, cat and downward facing dog, into your warm-up routine.
- Strengthen Your Muscles to Decrease Knee Cracking. If the cracking sounds are caused by poor alignment in your knees, practice yoga poses that help strengthen the muscles that support your knees. Improve the strength of your quadriceps muscles by devoting a few minutes every day to practicing the hero, reclining hero, and frog poses. Add a few standing and balancing poses, such as the mountain and tree poses, to strengthen your hip muscles.
- See Your Doctor. If cracking or popping sounds are constant and accompanied by pain or swelling, it's a good idea to visit your doctor. He or she may be able to offer treatments that will improve your comfort and decrease your pain.
Our yoga classes stretch your muscles and help you keep your joints loose and mobile. Call us to find out which class is best for you.
Yoga Journal: The Truth About Cracking and Popping Joints
Yoga Journal: 4 Way to Build Hip Stability and Prevent Injury
WebMD: What is Your Knee Telling You
Men’s Fitness: Trainer Q & A: Why Does My Shoulder Crack and Pop?
U.S. News and World Report: Is It Bad That My Knees Crack When I Exercise?, 6/7/16
Arthritis Foundation: 51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints
Harvard Health: Simple Tips to Protect Your Joints, 8/14