What is crepitus?

Crepitus is a crackling or popping sound that occurs as a result of tissues rubbing together abnormally. The sound results from an abnormal interaction between air, fluid or bone. A common example of crepitus is when rough surfaces in a joint rub together and result in a popping and crackling sound or an irregular feeling in your joint. Another example is when air escapes from the sinuses and can be felt in the skin overlying a facial bone fracture.

Joint Problems Spotlight

Crepitus is often the result of arthritis or a previous joint injury. However, a crackling or popping sound and irregular feeling in your joint may also result from the presence of air in the tissues, which may be due to a wound or certain types of bacterial infections.

Crepitus can be due to a wide variety of conditions, and associated symptoms can also vary widely. Soft tissue crepitus, due to air inside body tissues, is a serious type of crepitus. Crepitus due to arthritis or joint problems can be a sign of chronic disease or joint damage.

Seek prompt medical care if you have a popping or crackling sound coming from your soft tissues. If your crepitus in a joint is persistent or causes you concern, you should also seek prompt medical care.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with crepitus?

Crepitus may accompany other symptoms that can vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Crepitus can be broadly grouped into symptoms associated with crepitus in joints, as well as symptoms associated with crepitus due to air in soft tissues.

Musculoskeletal symptoms that may occur along with crepitus

Crepitus may accompany other symptoms affecti... Read more about crepitussymptoms

CAUSES

What causes crepitus?

Crepitus is caused by tissues rubbing together in an abnormal way. The most common cause of crepitus is rough cartilage and bone rubbing together in a joint, and the most common cause of this type of crepitus is arthritis or joint injury.

Another common cause of crepitus is when air gets inside soft tissue... Read more about crepituscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


What's Causing Your Symptoms?