Do your ankles sound like a bowl of breakfast cereal when you walk? It’s an alarming noise that can make people worry that their bodies are falling apart. Is it something harmless, or is it a sign that something is seriously wrong? Read on to learn about why ankles crack while you walk.
Noisy Joints: Are They Normal?
Our bodies make some pretty strange noises. Cracking or popping ankles fall into that category.
Why do ankles crack or pop? There are a couple of explanations, some of which should give you a sense of relief.
Your joints are cushioned by something called synovial fluid. It lubricates your joints. Synovial fluid contains three gases: oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Whenever you pop or crack a joint, the capsule of synovial fluid stretches. The motion releases gas, and bubbles form.
Another reason why your ankles make that noise is due to the movement of joints, tendons, and ligaments. Whenever a joint (such as your ankle) moves, the tendons change positions. Sometimes, the tendon goes slightly out of place. Furthermore, ligaments can tighten when you move your joints (like when you’re walking). You may hear a cracking noise when that happens.
You’re probably saying at this point, “That’s great, but is this situation serious?” The good news is that if there’s no pain that accompanies the noise, then there’s no problem.
When Are Noisy Ankles a Problem?
Here’s when you need to be worried: if you feel pain, if there’s swelling, or if it seems as though the ankle has given way. Those are signs that you’ve injured your ankle, and you need to treat it immediately.
There’s another situation in which noisy ankles indicate a more serious problem. Rubbing and grinding noises aren’t so innocent. Those noises are called crepitus, and it’s an indication that your cartilage is damaged or inflamed.
Deteriorating cartilage creates a rough surface that can leave bone exposed. The grinding and creaking noises you hear is the sound of bone rubbing up against bone.
Crepitus has another cause: tendons rubbing against bone. That happens when the tendon is inflamed from repetitive movement, and it no longer glides smoothly within its sheath. It’s fairly common in the Achilles tendon at the back of your ankle, and many long-distance runners experience it.
What Can You Do about Crepitus?
Deteriorating cartilage and tendons rubbing against the bone can cause discomfort and contribute to a reduction of the physical activity you perform in a day. It’s important to treat the underlying cause of crepitus so that you can continue being active.
It’s tempting to say, “Well, I’m in pain, so I won’t exercise.” That’s not the answer. What will help the situation is actually exercising. However, you shouldn’t do just any exercises. You need exercises specifically targeted to your muscles and joints to make them stronger and healthier.
Why will exercise help you with deteriorating cartilage? It strengthens the muscles and joints so that they can better support your weight.
Choose an Experienced Chiropractor to Help You Strengthen Your Ankles
Are your ankles causing you pain? An experienced chiropractor can help. Chiropractors develop a customized treatment plan for each patient, ensuring that they receive the care they need to strengthen their muscles and joints so they can lead healthy, active lives.
Our experienced chiropractor, Dr. Alec Khlebopros, practices a wealth of services, treatment options, and procedures that help to restore patients to their healthy selves.
Click here to contact Proactive Chiropractic for a consultation today, or fill in the form on our contact page and a member of our staff will be in touch soon.