Elbow cracks are considered as normal sounds linked with movement. In most cases, the cracking sound does not require any treatment but if it occurs along with swelling or pain, it is best to consult a doctor for proper assessment before any activity is resumed.
Cracking and popping sounds
During a workout, the individual might hear a single episode or a sequence of elbow cracks or popping. The other joints such as the knees, ankles and neck can also produce cracking or popping sounds during a workout.
The elbow might feel rigid or “locked up” before the cracking sound occurs and then normal after it stops. In some circumstances, the elbow cracks might be accompanied by other symptoms such as bruising, intense pain and disfigurement of the joint.
What is the pressure valve?
The accumulation of gases in the synovial fluid in the elbow joint can lead to elbow cracks or popping sounds after a workout since the pressure in the joint is released by bending, stretching or moving it.
The popping or cracking of the elbow can either occur from friction as the tendons, bones or ligaments rub against each other or if there is cartilage loss that can occur if the individual has osteoarthritis. Falls during a workout or incorrect lifting techniques using weights can also lead to a dislocated elbow that might produce noise as the injury occurs.
Are elbow cracks normal?
The elbow cracks that occur from buildup of synovial fluid will not require any special treatment. These are considered as usual side effects of moving the joint during a workout session.
If the individual has osteoarthritis, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can be used before a workout or the doctor might prescribe a corticosteroid to minimize the swelling that causes the bones in the elbow to rub against one another to produce noises.
As for elbow cracks that occurs from a dislocation, the doctor will often prescribe pain medications and muscle relaxants before the bones are realigned. Surgery is possible for damaged nerves, ligaments, blood vessels or fractures bones. In such cases, surgery is followed by physical therapy to improve strength and motion before the individual can resume the upper body workouts.
Properly stretching the arms before a workout can keep the joints and muscles warm to help prevent sore strains and dislocations that lead to elbow cracks. Alternative practices such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatments can also help minimize the elbow cracks from working out, but it is best to consult a doctor first.