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The Science Behind Joint "Popping"

June 8th, 2021


Contrary to popular belief, the popping sound coming from our joints is not due to bones cracking, breaking, rubbing against each other, or joints popping out and back in to place. The sound is actually due to a phenomenon known as tribonucleation, which is gas coming out of solution. Our joints are surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue and filled with synovial fluid, which makes them a closed space. As the joint surfaces start to separate during a manipulation or mobilization, the volume of the closed space will start to increase, which then causes the pressure to decrease. It is this drop in pressure that causes the gas bubbles to come out of solution and create that signature popping sound. A study conducted in 2015 where a test subject had his fingers manipulated in a MRI machine demonstrated that the sound occurred with the creation of a low signal intensity bubble in the joint. After the manipulation, the bubble remained in the joint, which provided further proof that the pop is also due to the bubbles forming and not popping.
The phenomenon discussed is safe which I will be discussing in another blog post. In the mean time, if you need a manipulation or adjustment, you can book in today by calling 604-455-7772 or clicking [here](https://stasisrehab.janeapp.com)!

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