Send to

Choose Destination
J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2017 Mar;61(1):32-39.

A proposed in vitro model for investigating the mechanisms of 'joint cracking': a short report of preliminary techniques and observations.

Author information

Private Practice, Nanaimo BC.
School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
The Cambie Chiropractic Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
Department of Anesthesiology and Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology, Duke University Medical Center.


in English, French

Joint "cracking" is common but not a clearly understood audible phenomenon. In this brief report we propose an in-vitro model to potentially assist in revealing a mechanism for, and therefore source of, this phenomenon. Using a suction cup under tension and de-nucleated fluid to simulate synovial fluid, an audible release with intra-articular cavity formation was elicited. This was followed by a refractory period during which no audible crack could be elicited until the observed cavity had slowly reabsorbed back into the joint fluid. Conversely, if regular fluid containing pre-existing nuclei was used, a cavity formation occurred but with neither an audible release nor subsequent refractory period. With this simple in-vitro model, we were able to reproduce the characteristic audible release, cavity formation and related refractory period typically observed in related experiments in human joints. This simple in-vitro model may be of use in helping to discern both the timing and precise nature of other yet to be discerned mechanisms related to joint cracking.


cavitation; chiropractic; joint; mechanism


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center