Your Feet and Cracking Sounds: Should you be Concerned?


What Causes Your Feet to Make Cracking Sounds?

Do you often find that your feet crack and pop when you’re walking? Are you concerned about what the noises could mean? In most cases, painless cracking and popping isn’t something that you need to worry about. It’s when the cracking causes you pain that you should be concerned.

Here’s a quick look at some of the reasons that might be causing your feet to crack and what it could mean for you.

Painless Cracking

While painless cracking isn’t something that you have to really worry about, you may still be curious about what causes your feet to crack. Some of the things that may cause your feet to crack without causing you pain include:

  • Escaping gases—the bones in our joints are surrounded by synovial fluid that lubricates and prevents bones from rubbing against each other. Synovial fluid contains oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. When the joint capsule is stretched, these gases form bubbles that cause a popping sound when the bubbles are released. In order to crack the same joints again, you have to wait until the gasses return to the synovial fluid.
  • Movement of joints, tendons, and ligaments—the tendon position changes and moves slightly out of place when a joint is moved. This may cause you to hear a snapping sound when the tendon returns to its original position. Also, your ligaments may tighten as you move your joints, which can make a cracking sound.
  • Rough surfaces—arthritic joints make sounds caused by the loss of smooth cartilage and the roughness of the joint surface.

Painful Cracking

In some cases, your feet making cracking sounds could be an indication of a greater problem. Some more serious problems that may cause your feet to crack include:

  • Morton’s neuroma—a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. This condition may feel similar to having a pebble in your shoe. Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause your feet to crack, and you may also feel a sharp burning pain, as well as a stinging, burning, or numbing of the toes. This condition can be caused by wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting, causing extra pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot; by participating in high-impact sports that may subject your feet to repetitive trauma; or by foot deformities, such as bunions, hammertoe, high arches, or flatfeet.
  • Achilles tendon rupture—the Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous chord that connects the muscle in the back of your calf to your heel bone. Overstretching your Achilles tendon can cause it to tear (rupture) completely or partially. If your Achilles tendon ruptures, you will most likely feel a pop or snap, followed by an immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg. Ruptures tend to occur within two and a half inches of the point where it attaches to the heel bone. It is often caused by a sudden increase in the amount of stress on your Achilles tendon, such as increasing your participation in high-intensity sports, falling from a height, or stepping in a hole.
  • Locked joint—if a joint becomes locked when it pops or cracks then there is a chance that something is caught between the joint surfaces. A piece of torn bone or cartilage may be the cause. Once the joint is stuck, it will need to be manipulated to unlock it, which will cause a popping sound.

Book a Consultation

If you experience any pain or swelling in your cracking joints, then it’s important that you seek out medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional. Book a consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today. With years of collective experience in their fields, they’ll be able to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your feet to make cracking sounds and how the issue can be alleviated.