Are you one of the people who habitually crack their joints, especially ankles? Do you ever think about what causes these sounds and how to crack your Ankle properly without causing harm?
There are numerous causes of Ankle popping and clicking sounds; they can be normal or a sign of underlying diseases based on the severity of the sound or the sensation of pain. Ankle Cracking can be satisfying if you do it correctly. In this blog, I will tell you the causes of Ankle popping, how to crack it, and when to see a doctor for your popping sounds of Ankles.
Get ready to know more about this ankle-popping!
What is Ankle Popping or Cracking?
Ankle popping is a common phenomenon when you hear a popping or cracking sound in your ankle joint. It happens when gas, specifically nitrogen, is released from the fluid and lubricates the joint. This gas release creates a popping sound that can be audible or felt.
Ankle popping is usually not a cause for concern, and it can occur in anyone, regardless of age or activity level. However, if Ankle popping is accompanied by pain, swelling, or instability, it may indicate an underlying condition such as an ankle sprain, ligament tear, or arthritis. According to a case study, a 33-year-old male reported left ankle pain with the urge to pop his Ankle.
He also felt swelling in his Ankle and started taking medications. After taking anti-inflammatory medications, he felt no relief. He visited his general physician, who performed an MRI, which showed the Stress fracture of the Calcaneus.
7 Major Causes of Ankle Pop or Click
Seven major causes of Ankle popping or cracking are the following:
1. Gas release
The most common and non-harmful cause of Ankle popping is the release of nitrogen gas from the fluid of the ankle joint. Your joint capsule forms bubbles of gas that pop during movement and make a popping sound. It is a normal phenomenon and not associated with any pathological condition.
2. Osteochondral lesion
The osteochondral lesion is an injury of cartilage at the edges of bone that causes swelling and cracking of joints. If this condition lies in your Ankle, it will create popping sounds whenever you move it.
3. Tendon rubbing
Ankle noise can also be caused by the peroneal tendons rubbing against the ankle bone. The peroneal muscles outside the lower leg play a crucial role in stabilizing the ankle joint. When the tendons from these muscles slip out of this groove, it can cause a snapping or popping sensation, although it is usually not a cause for concern unless it is accompanied by pain.
4. Tendon dislocation
Ankle Tendon Dislocation is also the cause of snapping sounds from your Ankle. A tendon dislocation can occur during an ankle sprain which will give you pain and swelling.
5. Osteochondritis dissecans
Osteochondritis dissecans(OCD) is a condition in which blood flow is slow beneath the cartilage, causing it to die. This causes pain and cracking of the Ankle or any affected joint.
6. Tendon subluxation
Ankle tendons are held in place by supportive tissues, the peroneal retinaculum. If this supportive connective tissue can be damaged or injured, it will result in tendon subluxation, which causes pain and cracking.
7. Ankle osteoarthritis
Ankle Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the bones of the Ankle begins to wear away. It can cause swelling, popping sounds, and pain.
How to Crack Your Ankle?
Many stretches and exercises are available that help you crack your Ankle and strengthen them. A few of them are mentioned below:
To perform this exercise, you must stand at the edge of a stage or ledge. It would help if you held something to balance yourself, or you could hold your waist. Now, carefully raise your toes and make sure to extend your ankles. After that, lower your heels. Repeat this process as long as you are comfortable.
Stand with your feet and keep them shoulder-width apart. Firstly, lift one foot from the floor and balance yourself with only one foot for 30 seconds. Repeat the same procedure with your other foot.
Drawing the alphabet
Lay down on the floor or sit on a chair, lift one foot, and draw the alphabet from A to Z with the foot by moving it from the ankle joint. Repeat the same thing with your other foot. Drawing the alphabet with your foot will force your Ankle into various angles and help you in cracking your Ankle.
Pointing Your Toes
Sit on the floor, keep your back straight and legs relaxed in the forward direction. After that,
Flex your toes onward as much as you can for about 15 to 20 seconds. Then relax your foot back to the normal position and flex your other toes.
Towel stretches are one of the easiest ways of relaxing and cracking your Ankle. You just have to sit on the surface, keeping your back straight and your shoulder down. After that, keep your legs straight on the floor before your body. Place a towel around your sole horizontally and hold each end of the towel with your hands. Now, pull the towel towards the body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds or as long as you want.
You can perform ankle circles from a seated or lying position. Sit or lay down on a flat floor supporting one of your feet on a hard pillow with your elevated heel. Move your ankles ten times in clockwise circles and then anticlockwise circles. Repeat the same exercise with your other leg.
Benefits of Ankle Cracking
People with joint disorders should not crack their joints, including ankles, but for normal healthy people cracking ankles with proper exercise has some potential benefits. Some of them are the following:
- Stretching exercise of your Ankle strengthen it and increases joint mobility and flexibility,
- Exercise for cracking the Ankle can reduce tension and stress in the joint,
- Rotating your Ankle in a circular motion can improve circulation and blood flow to the foot.
When to See a Doctor?
Pain and inflammation of the Ankle are not normal and can be alarming. You should immediately see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of pain, swelling, and difficulty in movement, along with the cracking and popping sound from the ankle joint.
“How to Crack Your Ankle” App
An application is launched on the Google Play store named “ How to crack your Ankle.” It is an application developed by “Action Cooking Craft.” This application is all about tips and tricks related to cracking your Ankle and all the remedies to avoid any injury to your Ankle.
Whether you are an athlete or someone who enjoys physical activities, this app can be a helpful guide to preventing ankle injuries and improving your ankle health.
Cracking and popping sounds from your Ankle can result from gas release, which is normal but can also be a sign of any joint disorder or injury such as Osteoarthritis, Osteochondral lesion, (OCD), etc. Many exercises are available to reduce Ankle cracking, but they should be performed with care and after consulting with your doctor.