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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

1
Private Practice, Nanaimo BC.
2
School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
3
The Cambie Chiropractic Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
4
Department of Anesthesiology and Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology, Duke University Medical Center.

Abstract

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.

KEYWORDS:

cavitation; chiropractic; joint; mechanism

PMID:
28413221
PMCID:
PMC5381484

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