Definition of crepitus in US English:



  • 1A grating sound or sensation produced by friction between bone and cartilage or the fractured parts of a bone.

    • ‘The knee often clicks as it moves through its range of movement and usually the patient feels and hears grating or crepitus under their kneecap.’
    • ‘The patella and its supporting structures, bilateral joint lines and collateral ligaments are palpated for tenderness, crepitus and localized swelling.’
    • ‘Findings on physical examination include decreased range of motion, crepitus, a mild joint effusion, and palpable osteophytic changes at the knee joint.’
    • ‘Physical examination frequently reveals crepitus at the fracture site.’
    • ‘Palpation of the nasal structures should be done to elicit any crepitus, indentation, or irregularity of the nasal bone.’
    1. 1.1 The production of crepitations in the lungs; rale.
      • ‘Palpate the chest for subcutaneous emphysema and crepitus, and percuss for dullness, an indication of consolidations or effusions.’
      • ‘The presence of crepitus indicates subcutaneous emphysema.’
      • ‘Subcutaneous emphysema can be diagnosed by the presence of crunching sounds coinciding with the heart rate, crepitus when palpating the overlying skin, or swelling of the face and neck.’
      • ‘Some had opportunities to palpate subcutaneous crepitus, others could see effects and treatment of respiratory/metabolic acid-base imbalances.’


Early 19th century: from Latin, from crepare ‘rattle’.