It happens to us all: You stand up after sitting for a while and you hear a loud “pop.” Why do knees do that? Is it bad?
Here are the short answers: 1) crepitus and 2) probably not, but possibly yes. Read on to find out why this happens, and when it’s worth worrying about.

What Is Crepitus?
Crepitus (pronounced “krep-it-us”) is the medical term used to describe a grinding, crackling or grating sensation and/or sound in the body. It is most commonly used to describe joint cracking, such as knee joint cracking or grinding. It may also be used to describe similar symptoms with other body functions, such lung crackling from pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses, or as a symptom of a fractured bone.
The term stems from the Latin word crepāre, which means to crack. Crepitus is also called crepitation (pronounced krep-i-tay-shen).
Often, the sound associated with crepitus may be quiet or muffled. However, the crunching or cracking sensation can be felt if one places a hand over the knee cap and gently moves the lower leg forward and backward.
Popping knees can be alarming, but are usually not a cause for concern.

Why joints pop?
Like nearly all the joints in your body, the knee joint is covered by a protective membrane containing synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates the joint, allowing it to move smoothly and easily.

What Is a Synovial Joint?
Occasionally, tiny gas bubbles build up in this fluid. When the joint moves, the bubbles are released, causing the nearby ligaments to emit a snap or pop sound. The technical term for this phenomenon is crepitus, which also describes all grinding or crackling sounds and sensations in the body.

When to be concerned about joints popping
Most of the time, this popping and creaking of joints is harmless. However, crepitus is also a symptom of the joint degeneration that leads to osteoarthritis.

You should worry about joint popping if:
It’s occurring frequently in one location
It’s accompanied by pain
It’s accompanied by joint swelling, tenderness, or stiffness
You’re also having pain as a result of prolonged joint movement, such as when walking
If you’re experiencing pain when a joint pops or you have any other of the symptoms listed above, talk with your doctor. If your symptoms and test results indicate it, your doctor may diagnose osteoarthritis and start treatment. Treatments for osteoarthritis can ease pain, improve mobility, and slow disease progression—especially if it’s caught early.

4 supplements that may ease arthritis pain
Research is still ongoing and there’s no definite proof to support a supplement as treatment for OA.
But there are 4 supplements that have been well researched and, so far, seem to offer benefits to those with arthritis:

Turmeric (curcumin)
This root, commonly used in Indian cooking, has several different anti-inflammatory properties that seem to counteract arthritis symptoms. To get the most from curcumin, experts recommend 200 to 1000 mg of curcumin per day of a product labeled as containing 95% curcuminoids.

Ginger and turmeric are part of the same plant family, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ginger also has helpful anti-inflammatory properties. Recommended dosage is a 100 to 225 mg ginger capsule daily.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
These supplements are believed to promote cartilage formation and repair. But research is mixed about its benefits, and some experts believe they may not be effective for everyone.

Fish oil
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have lots of great anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re not interested in fish oil supplements, you can also try following an anti-inflammatory diet that’s rich in foods like fish and dark, leafy greens.

By Carrie DeVries (