Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do my toes crack?"
My toes crack all of the time and I don't know why. When I'm walking I can hear and feel them cracking in both of my feet. Is this normal or is something wrong with my joints or bones? Should I have a doctor check it out?
Most of the time cracking of the joints, whether in the feet or elsewhere, is not a medical problem and doesn't need to be evaluated by a doctor. In most otherwise healthy people, joint cracking occurs due to a phenomenon known as crepitation. This basically means that, when the joint is moved rapidly, small air bubbles form inside the joint fluid - and then pop, leading to the cracking noise. The noise produced from cavitation is not associated with any stiffness, swelling or pain in the joints and, despite the popular myth that cracking your joints leads to arthritis, there is no evidence to suggest that there are any long term health consequences of this. On the other hand, if you do have other symptoms other than the noise, you should go see your doctor. For example, if you have pain or stiffness in your feet, if you feel that sometimes the ankle joint "catches," or if you have any instability in the joints when you walk, then these might all be signs of arthritis or another joint problem that should be checked out. Your doctor will be able to examine your feet and help you determine if anything is going on.
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