trigger finger

People often like to crack their knuckles, as it can be quite satisfying to do. But you’re actually not cracking anything when you do that. The sounds that come out of that action are a result of the oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide bubbles moving in the fluid surrounding your finger joints.

It’s completely natural to hear the popping sounds when cracking your knuckles, so there’s no need to worry about it. However, when there is pain associated with the noisy joints, it can indicate a bigger issue.

What Causes the Clicking or Popping Sounds?

As mentioned before, the clicking or popping sounds your finger joints make when you crack your knuckles are just the air bubbles moving around in your joint fluid. However, when the sounds are associated with pain, they may be caused by one of the conditions below.

  • Trigger Finger

A trigger finger is a condition in which a finger or two gets stuck while in a bent position. This can happen when the tendon movement is not smooth. When you have a trigger finger, the finger can stiffen and be accompanied by some pain. If this happens regularly, you may also notice some swelling on your palm. 

There isn’t often a definite cause behind a trigger finger. However, it can be common, especially among women. 

One possible cause of trigger finger is the incompatibility of the tendon size and the size of the tendon sheath opening. This can happen when the tendon is swollen or inflamed.

If you have a trigger finger, you may notice a snapping feeling while relaxing your fist. And if the symptoms worsen, you would often need to use your other hand to straighten out your trigger finger. 

  • Ligament Injury

Your ligaments are what hold your joints together. And when they are injured and heal improperly, it can result in a clicking or popping sound when bending your fingers.

Ligament injuries can occur in your finger if it has been sprained or dislocated. And the severity of the injury can range from a partially torn ligament to a completely torn one. So, it’s crucial to get proper treatment for the ligaments to avoid long-term problems.

  • Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis in the fingers happens when the joint’s normally smooth cartilage surface has worn away. When the condition worsens, there can be pain when moving the joints. It can also be accompanied by clicking and popping noises as a result of small and pointed bone growth around the affected joints. 

How to Treat Joints That Click or Pop

Treatment will depend on the condition associated with the clicking or popping sounds. Your treatment options can include injections, surgery, and physical therapy. It’s best to talk to a hand specialist to determine the appropriate treatment plan.

When Should You See a Hand Doctor?

Clicking or popping sounds from your joints aren’t always a cause to see the hand doctor. However, when other symptoms, such as pain, come with it, it’s best to see a professional healthcare provider immediately. Some symptoms you need to watch out for include swelling, discoloration, inability to extend the finger, numbness at the fingertip, tenderness, stiffness lasting 30 minutes or more, enlargement of the joint, burning sensations, and loss of flexibility.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal to hear clicking or popping noises from your finger joints, especially after cracking your knuckles. These sounds are often just a result of air bubbles moving around in the joint fluid. However, when these sounds come with other symptoms, it would be best to see a hand specialist as soon as possible to get the appropriate treatment.

Get proper trigger finger treatment from North Florida Hand and Wrist. We are a state-of-the-art hand and wrist facility in Jacksonville, Florida led by expertly trained hand and wrist surgeons. We are committed to providing patients with the absolute best care possible. Call us today!