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What could a bone cracking noise indicate about your health?

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A one-time bone cracking noise can indicate a strained or torn ligament or tendon, dislocated joint or broken bone, according to MedicineNet. Repeated popping or cracking sounds can indicate damage to the cartilage through injury or osteoarthritis, though these noises, particularly in the hands and knees, are typically harmless, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. Unless accompanied by pain or swelling, these symptoms generally do not require treatment.

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Symptoms of bone fractures include swelling or bruises around the area of the fracture, loss of functionality, and protruding bones, states WebMD. Pain often increases in the area when the patient moves it or applies pressure. Broken bones typically coincide with traumatic injuries, but weakened bones can fracture with little or no outside force. Some causes of these pathologic fractures include bone cancer and osteoporosis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. The cartilage in the joints wears down over time or through injury, causing the bones to scrape together, explains WebMD. This can form spurs on bone edges, particularly on feet and fingers. Overweight individuals are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis as the excess weight wears harder on joints, such as the knees. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include severe pain and difficulty performing some tasks, such as walking, bending or gripping objects. Other symptoms include joints that feel warmer than the rest of the body and stiffness after sleeping and in the morning.

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