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Do Creaky Joints Mean It's Arthritis?

Do Creaky Joints Mean It's Arthritis?

Nearly a quarter of all adults have arthritis, making it one of the most common pain conditions and one of the leading causes of work disability. Often the first warning sign is loud, creaky joints — but that’s not the only reason your joints are making noise. 

Here, Dr. Maurice Aiken, our podiatric and arthritis specialist at Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, takes the guesswork out of your noisy joints and shows when they’re a concern.

What’s making that sound?

There’s more than one reason your joints are making noise, and many of them are harmless. 

For instance, if you lift a heavy object or do a repetitive workout, you may hear a clicking or snapping sound. That’s normal. It likely means you have a tight muscle or tendon rubbing over your bone. A bit of gentle stretching to loosen them should do the trick. 

In other cases, like when your knuckles crack, it’s simply your joints releasing nitrogen bubbles. And despite the old wives' tale that cracking your knuckles is dangerous, there’s no harm done. 

The bottom line is that your joints are noisy parts of your anatomy, and a few sounds here and there are rarely anything to be concerned about. 

When should you be worried?

It’s true. Some sound from your joints is rarely a cause for concern; however, if you miss a few key warning signs, you could be neglecting a more serious joint condition. 

If your joints are creaking and they’re accompanied by pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and stiffness, it’s time to let our expert have a look. Creaky joints that are also painful are almost always a sign of arthritis. 

What causes arthritis?

There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage in your joints, which acts as a cushion, wears down over time. Without cartilage, your bones rub against each other and make creaking sounds. 

Rheumatoid arthritis and gout are two other fairly common types of arthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. That means your immune system has malfunctioned and started to attack healthy cells and tissues in your body. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system destroys the lining of your joints. 

Gout occurs when uric acid accumulates between your joints (particularly those in your feet). The result is pain, swelling, and inflammation. 

What do you do next?

If you suspect that your creaky joints are arthritic, turn to Dr. Aiken. He carefully examines your joints to determine if arthritis has set in. If it has, he begins creating your customized treatment plan. Depending on how severe your case is, we recommend the following:

Many of our patients benefit simply from lifestyle changes and healthy weight loss. We have the years of experience necessary to help you find the combination of treatments that work best for you. 

Stop wondering if your joints are in danger and start getting answers. Call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aiken at our Dunedin, Florida, office today. 

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