In my mother-tongue, there's a word that describes this act. I'm searching for an idiom/phrase or whatever that describes this without any ambiguity.

This sound comes when someone twists the body part that contains joints. Making this sound out of knuckles is quite common. Also, imagine Bruce Lee in the ring and just before the fight is started, he twists his fingers, rotates his head and stretches his legs and all of these gestures will produce a special sound--a cracking sound--but I'm not sure about using this word. If there's a 'crack' sound, medically, it's a hairline fracture! Being a healthcare provider, I have heard/used this word that way. :)

What that sound is called? or in that way, what do we call that act?

And please mind it, I'm not just referring to knuckles but any joint in the body.

2 Answers 2


Crack your knuckles.

for example: Cracking Joints

Creaking joints.

for example: What those creaking joints REALLY mean | Mail Online

  • The first one goes for just knuckles. Read my question, I need the term for any joint. I'm not sure you crack your neck, do you? Creaking seems more medical. Also, please add some more information to save this as an answer or this'll be better voted as a comment. A
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 5:05
  • 1
    @Maulik, yes, you can crack your neck. Go to COCA and search for [crack] * neck for evidence. Personally I can crack my ankle. I injured it badly once, and ever since then, I've been able to crack it.
    – Dangph
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 5:34
  • 2
    Pop is also okay. Wikipedia actually has an article about this: Cracking joints. Personally, I think that if I were describing joints other than the knuckles, I'd use the word joints and make it explicit to avoid confusion.
    – user230
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 5:47
  • @Maulik - My wife cracks her neck and back just about daily, and that's exactly the word she uses for it – crack. That said, I agree with the second part of your remarks: as it stands right now, this reads more like a comment instead of an answer, and it needs some supportive material, like an excerpt from a dictionary and/or a couple example usages.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 8:16
  • @J.R. If you Google either phrase you can easily find many references. I added a couple.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 18:05

The verb "crepitate" means "to make a crackling sound". The medical term (noun) "crepitus" can mean crackling or grating sounds made by bones or joints.

  • While writing down our examination, we medicos write creps ++ That sound is entirely different from what I mean.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:49

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