Why Do I Have Clicking Joints?

People often ask me why their joints click when they are in postures or coming out of postures. The clicking of a joint is directly related to force and its alignment. It’s fair to say that some people are more prone to the syndrome of clicking joints and they may also have hyper-mobility at joints often seen in the knees where they seem to be bending the wrong way when standing. As a result of practicing gymnastics at an early age I experienced this problem and it is a problem because essentially force is not being efficiently directed into the area that needs to work with it, namely the feet. When we stand and our knees collapse or bend backwards this means that force that should reach the feet and assist in standing stability is being redirected back up the back of the leg into the back, especially the lumbar spine, causing compression of the vertebra and ultimately lower back pain. 

So, the reason that joints ‘click’ is because we are releasing the build-up of pressure or force at the joint. Joints act to direct force into another area so that it can be actively used and recycled. The stagnation of force is a cause of distress at the joint and surrounding tissues. Remember force is fodder for muscles; they are designed to work with force to produce stability and movement but when there is a constant build-up of force, the muscles surrounding the joint will likely have become chronically tense as they perpetually engage with the excess force. So, when muscles release their tension after being stretched by a yoga pose, they enable the joint to recalibrate the force trapped within it, hence the ‘clicking’ sound. The release in itself is not bad for the body but the constant forcing of a joint against its natural alignment is. This means that if your knees constantly click, you should try to increase your awareness of their alignment when standing and practice keeping them soft.

If it is your hips that click, try to engage the strong muscles of your glutes to help use up any excess force that gets trapped at this junction. If you are sat for long periods throughout the day try squeezing them for 5 seconds each time you stand up. And if it is your spine that clicks regularly, then I would encourage you to book a massage to help release chronic tension through the muscles that support it.