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Listen! Your joints are trying to tell you something

We talk a lot about how it feels when your knees start aching nonstop. Afterall, chronic pain and soreness that reduce mobility is a sure sign of trouble and an early indicator that a joint repair or replacement might be needed down the line. Still, there are other warnings put out by our bodies to let us know that something is wrong. One of these is the sense of sound, so you’ll need to take a break from New York City noises and tune in to yourself.

As reported by AARP, “A new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that those who hear grating, cracking, or popping sounds in or around their knee joint may be more likely to develop full-blown knee osteoarthritis than those who don’t hear these noises — even if they aren’t suffering from any pain.” Furthermore, the Baylor study found that middle-aged and older adults with frequently cracking knees had a higher chance of developing arthritis symptoms. Eleven percent of individuals who reported that their knees were “always” noisy developed arthritis symptoms in that area within a year’s time. That’s double the 4.5 percent of those who said their knees “never popped or cracked.” And for those who said their knees were noisy “sometimes” or “often”? Eight percent of them developed symptoms within a year.

This research is a bummer, because with time, osteoarthritis can cause your joints to deteriorate, making you a prime candidate for a total joint replacement.

Thankfully, there are a couple of positive points to this research. First and foremost, popping doesn’t always equal pre-arthritis. In fact, many times it is only connected to crepitus. This scary-sounding word is simply a term for when your joints or ligaments rub together as you move or compress them. To be clear, the medical profession has yet to figure out what causes crepitus, but it is super common and fine unless it is accompanied by pain or worsens as time progresses. It’s important that you don’t try to self-diagnose your popping. Talking with your doctor is the best way to rule out anything more severe.

Even if you are experiencing arthritis, you have options to keep it from advancing into something more significant. Staying active is essential to overall well-being and can help you lose weight to relieve pressure off of your joints. Using over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and relying on crutches or other assistive devices can also be useful.

Finally, in the event that you do end up needing a surgery, there are many advanced techniques that can be used to reduce your healing time, minimize scarring, ensure effectiveness, and get you back to your fun-loving self as quickly as possible. If you have any questions about your options or if you are at risk for needing a procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out. We want to help you have joints that you can rely on!

Posted in: Joint Replacement

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