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What Is Crepitus?

It's That Crackling Sound That You Wonder if Anyone Else Can Hear


Updated June 13, 2014

Definition: Crepitus is a symptom characterized by a crackling or grating feeling or sound under the skin, around the lungs or in the joints. In soft tissues, crepitus is often due to gas, most often air, that has abnormally penetrated and infiltrated an area (for example, in the soft tissues beneath the skin). In a joint, crepitus can indicate cartilage wear in the joint space.

The term "crepitus" is derived from the Latin, meaning "a crackling sound or rattle." Typically, crepitus is a grinding noise coupled with a sensation in the affected joint. Crepitus can occur with or without pain.


New Webster's Medical Dictionary, Second Edition. 2003. MedicineNet.com

Osteoarthritis - Patient Education. American College of Rheumatology. June 2006.

Pronunciation: krep-it-us

Also Known As: creaky joints, popping joints, snapping joints

Common Misspellings: crepitis

Examples: There is crepitus in the ankle joint.

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