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Clicking Joints

Q: The other day I noticed that my right ankle kept clicking every time I took a step. This has happened before and it just went away, and even though it doesn't hurt, I'm worried it could be a sign of a serious joint problem like arthritis. Am I overreacting?

Dr. Donnica:
If the clicking sound is your only symptom, then you probably have nothing to worry about. This is a fairly common occurrence in young, healthy individuals and is considered normal. The clicks are usually due to flicking of the ligament from one position to another. These clicks can also occur in the knee, hip or even fingers. Clicking is also common in the jaw, especially in people with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

We sometimes worry about clicking in older people's joints, however, especially if it starts in the neck and spreads. In this case, it may indicate osteophyte formation and the thickening of the synovium, both of which can lead to degenerative conditions. If your clicking is joined by pain or swelling, you should consult your physician. Otherwise, carry on!

Created: 5/18/2005  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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