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Can you break something by cracking a joint?

Sarah CB

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Break? No.  But he could have pulled a tendon etc trying to make something crack.


All my joints crack and crunch.  DH says I sound like rice krispies, lol.  My boys are the same way.


Now, ds2 had something that seemed different.  His neck was popping, but it was every time he turned his head.  I knew what it was, it was a tendon moving across bone, not an actual joint popping. I have a hip that does that when I move it the right way. It is a rather dramatic popping sound, lol. But with ds2 it was almost all the time.  And, to make matters worse, I saw him doing it on purpose, but unconsciously. It was sort of habitual. And worse, it was starting to hurt.


I took him to my chiro (who has a specialty in pediatric chiro) and she could also tell it was tendon across bone. It is more of a growing issue. He will prob grow out of it BUT his constantly doing it was causing the tendon to become inflamed. He was having some neck tenderness etc.  She was able to give him a kind but firm talking to about continuing to make it pop, that he was going to end up in a neck brace in his 20s with constant neck pain.  I don't know if that was real or a bit of medical exaggeration to make him stop, lol. But he did stop doing it on purpose. It happens sometimes when he turns his head the right way, but there is nothing we can do about it. It is just how the tendon moves across a bone.


So, maybe tell your son that he needs to leave the elbow alone, lol.  Give him some motrin for pain and ice it 5-10 mins a day for 2-3 days and the pain should subside. If it doesn't, then maybe a trip to a doctor is warranted. But I am guessing he inflamed the tendon.


And FWIW, when he was there, ds2 did specifically ask the chiro about popping his joints and it could hurt him. She assured him that regular joints cracking won't hurt  you or cause any problems. But, if it does start to hurt in an area be aware of it and try to stop.

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is there any swelling?  pain to the touch?

while injuring a tendon or ligament, it is possible to tear off a piece of bone.     it might only show up on an x-ray at the correct angle. also, sometimes those types of injuries only show up on an x-ray a few days later.


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Actually, yes, you can break something by popping/cracking.  I have a friend in her late 20's/early 30's who broke a vertebra in her neck from cracking it. She had to have surgery to fuse that vertebra and wore a neck brace for months. She still has some lingering issues and pain.



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