Joint cracking and popping: understanding noises that accompany articular release

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002 May;102(5):283-7.


Articular release is a physiologic event that may or may not be audible. It is seen in patients with healthy joints as well as those with somatic dysfunction. After an articular release, there is a difference in joint spacing-with the release increasing the distance between articular surfaces. Not all noise that emanates from a joint signifies an articular release. A hypothesis about the noise that frequently accompanies this release is offered and includes anatomic, physiologic, and functional models of articular release. Repeated performance of articular release may decrease the occurrence of arthritis. Potential problems from repeated articular release (eg, hypermobility) are also examined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / therapy*
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic / methods*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sound