Published on March 25, 2021

Snap, Crackle, Pop: When to See An Orthopedic Doc

older couple walking dog

It's safe to say that aches and pains seem to become more prevalent the older we get. The activities you enjoyed when you were younger become more challenging – and the strange sounds of your joints when you stretch or get moving in the morning become a friendly reminder to take it slow. But when does the pain become worrisome? Here are some helpful hints that the snap, crackle, and pop noises need to be looked at by an orthopedic provider.

Pain During Daily Activities

When you're unable to perform daily activities because of pain, you should seek help. Activity levels differ from person to person, but if you're used to taking a daily walk or run and now your knees or back are hurting as a result, or your wrists and hands hurt from carrying your groceries it's important to talk to your doctor. And while your primary care physician is great for managing your overall health, you may find it beneficial to see an orthopedic physician when issues such as these arise.

Declining Range of Motion

Your joints are made up of bone, muscles, synovium, cartilage, and ligaments, all of which help you move your body. If your joints aren't moving the way they used to, you may be experiencing what is known as a decreased range of motion. This may be due to a problem with your joints, swelling of the tissue around your joints, muscle stiffness, or pain. It's important to meet with an orthopedic physician to know what is causing the decline so that the right exercises, therapy, and other treatment can be used to improve your range of motion and prevent further decline.

Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries are those that include damage to your muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons such as bruises, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, and strains. Often times these injuries simply require rest, ice, compression and elevation, commonly known as RICE to help with the healing process. Typically, you'll see an improvement within 48 hours, if your swelling and pain persist past this, you may need to see an orthopedic physician. At your appointment you may need an x-ray to determine if there is damage to your bones or any other medical issue that would require further treatment.

Swollen Joints

Swelling is a sign that there is fluid in the tissues surrounding your joints. This is typically painful and impacts your range of motion. There are many reasons swelling can occur including a sign of sprain, infection, torn ligaments, or other condition. Getting your injury looked at immediately is important for proper recovery.

Sports Injury

Whether you're an athlete on the field or a weekend warrior, there may come a time when you suffer a sports injury that needs medical attention. It could be the result of a hard tackle, a quick pivot on the field, or a box jump gone wrong that takes you out of the game. Common sports injuries include bone fractures, dislocations, ACL and meniscus tears, rotator cuff tears as well as overuse injuries. Your orthopedic physician will be able to assess your injury and determine the best treatment option for you based on your goals, this could range from an injection, to minimally invasive surgery to individually tailored strength and physical therapy regimens.

Keeping your body in motion is important to your overall health. If you're experiencing pain for any reason, please call our providers at Sturdy Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Associates at 508-342-1103.