If you hear this sound, you better run for shelter. Because a new study published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research reveals it’s a clear sign of arthritis in the making.
Most of us ignore this sound as something normal or unimportant, but nothing is further from the truth.
Crepitus is when you hear grating, cracking, or popping sounds around your joints. It is something that most of us consider unimportant. But this study shows that when it happens frequently, it can be problematic.
Scientists analyzed data from 3,495 people, collected by the Osteoarthritis Initiative study.
None of them had symptoms of knee osteoarthritis at the beginning of the study.
The scientists examined knee radiographs and pain questionnaires taken at the commencement of the study and several times thereafter, up to 48 months later.
In addition, they asked the participants about the frequency and severity of crepitus at the beginning of the study, and again after 12, 24, and 36 months.
With all this information at hand, the researchers could compare the crepitus scores to the radiographs and pain scores, in order to see whether the crepitus scores were meaningless or if they actually predicted arthritis.
The chance that the subjects would develop symptomatic arthritis increased with the frequency of their crepitus.
This was especially true for those whose radiographs showed osteoarthritis at the beginning of the study, even when they had no pain at all.
This means that you should not wait until the pain starts if you experience frequent cracking or grinding sounds in your knees.
You can ask your doctor to take a radiograph to establish whether or not you have arthritis, and then start treating it immediately, before the pain even kicks in.
Immediate weight loss, healthy dieting, and gentle joint exercises work best if they are started before arthritis takes hold.