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Popping sternum is cracking sound heard from the sternum (also known as breastbone). Many people wander what causes this sound every time they stretch and if this is something serious to be worried about. The sound of sternum popping is very similar to one made from popping knuckles, jaw or knees. In most cases, the cause of the sound is in the joints of the ribs and breastbone.

Symptoms of Popping Sternum

Some people have mild discomfort caused by this sound but nothing more than that, while other patients may experience some pain in the breastbone or while popping sternum. There is also possibility to suffer from certain swelling of these joints.

Many times, doctors don’t consider these popping sounds as medical issues, unless there are some serious problems associated with that. People having problems with movements of the chest due or along these sounds should consult their doctor to avoid any unnecessary complications. Clicking and cracking of the sternum and swelling of the joints also require some medical attention.

Why Sternum Pops?

Exact cause of popping of the breastbone is still not known. Doctors and scientists believe that this sound may appear as the result of snapping of gas bubbles, formed between tendons and ligaments of the joints. As the result of partial dislocation of the joints or joint fluid, joints may free the gas.

Additionally, degradation and damage of joint lining or erosion of some bones may also be responsible for annoying noise coming from the sternum. Usual causes of these problems are different arthritis diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Sternum fracture is another possible explanation for the popping of the sternum, as well as different traumas and injuries. People can injure the chest during some fall, car accident or because of some heavy punch. Weight lifters and bodybuilders often work with excess pressure on the chest, which provokes inflammation and causes popping of the breastbone.

Teitze’s syndrome (calcification of the cartilage) is common condition in young girls and as such it can also be responsible for sternum popping. Muscle spasms in the chest, frequent strain or traumas to the ribs and chest and post-op complications may all lead to popping of the sternum and noise in that particular area of the body.

Possible Treatment

Popping sounds caused by inflammation of the joints can usually be resolved using some anti-inflammatory medications. Once the inflammation is gone patients don’t have any more problems with popping sternum. Taking several deep breaths and some stretching will also do you good and may ease the tightness.

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