Heres A Summary Of Dr Bennetts Video On Knee Pain Causes
My name is Dr. J. Michael Bennett. I am a Board Certified orthopedic sports medicine specialist welcome to my Whiteboard Series of patient education videos.
Today were going to discuss the causes of knee pain, which is a question we get quite a bit. When many patients come to our clinics, their primary complaint is, My knee just popped, and now its swollen and hurts. What do I do? Were going to go over some things today regarding knee pain and a popping sensation in the knee and what exactly that means. If youd like to learn about whats involved in an orthopedic knee exam, please watch our video.
Snapping Knee Causes & Management
A large number of patients experience a snapping or popping sound in their knees. The sound is often described as an audible click, pop, or a snapping sensation while moving the knee. While mostly a normal finding, in some cases, it may signify an underlying pathology. The pathological snapping is usually associated with pain, swelling, and a history of injury.
The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body. The joint is formed by the lower end of the thigh bone and the upper part of the shinbone. The kneecap forms a joint with the thigh bone and acts as a lever for straightening the leg. The kneecap accounts for the smooth gliding of the quadriceps tendon during the straightening or bending of the leg.
MRI of the knee in the coronal section showing various structures.
The articular cartilage is a glistening white smooth tissue covering the end of the bones forming the joint. The cartilage also covers the inner surface of the kneecap. The cartilage is toughened yet flexible enough to allow smooth gliding of the joint surfaces.
The anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament provide stability at the front and the back of the knee. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments provide stability on the sides of the knee joint.
Alignment between the femur and tibia is necessary for the proper distribution of joint forces. Muscles crossing the knee joint allow for bending and straightening the knee.
Commonly the causes of normal snapping/popping are :
Treatment For Knee Popping
Knee Popping is a common condition and does not pose any threat to the knee and there is no need for any treatment for Knee Popping alone, although the condition causing the knee popping like an injury or a tear of the ligament and conditions like arthritis or chondromalacia patella needs treatment for which you need to consult with your treating physician. Citing an example if arthritis is causing Knee Popping then the physician will prescribe medications for pain relief like antiinflammatories. The physician may also recommend application of ice alternating with heat for 15 to 20 minutes two to three times a day. A knee brace may also be recommended for immobilization and allowing the inflammation or injury to heal. The physician may also recommend you to a physical therapist to formulate an exercise regimen to increase the strength and stability of the knees and promote range of motion.
Glucosamine along with chondroitin is a known effective treatment for arthritis. Apart from this using fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids have also shown to be effective in treating arthritis.
Apart from medications there are also certain natural remedies in the form of herbal teas which are useful for treating arthritis causing Knee Popping and pain.
It is important to make note of activities that causes knee popping and to avoid them.
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When To See A Doctor
If there is pain, have a doctor look at your knee as soon as possible. Doing so may prevent a more serious knee injury including anterior cruciate ligament injuries. They affect between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans each year.
Even if the knee popping does not cause pain, you may still want to have it checked out. In some cases, it may be an early warning sign of a repetitive use injury. This may require weight loss, a change of footwear, or knee-strengthening exercises to better protect the joint.
The best treatments are targeted directly at the specific problem that is causing the abnormal popping or snapping inside the knee joint. Most mechanical problems are best treated with arthroscopic knee surgery. You can ease crepitus and tendon problems by taking care of the inflammation in the knee joint.
Is It Normal For My Knees To Crack All The Time
Many people experience popping or cracking in their knees when squatting, and while this can sound concerning, it is actually very common. As long as you dont have pain or swelling associated with your knee popping, you most likely dont have anything to worry about. There are a few reasons why your knees may develop these sounds. As we get older, the cartilage in the knees can develop uneven areas due to wear and tear. The ligaments in the knee joint could also be tightening or shifting as you move, creating an audible sound.
If the popping or cracking in your knees is painful or leads to swelling, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to be evaluated. An injury or chronic condition in the knee may require treatment to alleviate your pain and restore your range of motion. If the cartilage in your knee has undergone excessive wear and broken down, such as from arthritis, you will likely be recommended conservative therapies to manage your symptoms. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, can gradually damage the cartilage in your knee and make it difficult to move normally without pain. In these cases, knee replacement surgery may eventually become necessary if other treatments do not provide adequate relief.
The Knee Cap Can Cause Knee Pain
he last thing you need to be concerned about regarding any kind of locking, or catching or popping sensation in the knee is the knee cap and this is actually very common. The knee cap here tracks in this groove right here. This is called the trochlear groove, and the knee cap goes right down the middle of this groove and its usually centralized within that groove. Occasionally patients can have a history of dislocation of the knee cap or can have whats called maltracking of the knee cap, where the knee cap actually tracks laterally on the outside of that groove, and rubs up and down this condyle here of cartilage.
That can cause pain with stairs, squatting, kneeling any kind of bending activity. If youre in a movie theater and you go to stand up and you feel a click or a pop and it hurts, that might be the fact that your knee cap was sitting out here laterally, and then it popped back into joint, in the trochlear here and thats easily addressable with strengthening exercises as well as conservative measures.
Now, if you do have a dislocation of the knee cap, where it pops completely out of joint and you physically have to pop it in or a trainer pops it in. Then that can be a little bit more serious because a ligament injury can occur and there can be some cartilage defects that need to be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon probably with an MRI and a physical exam. Depending on what the findings are will determine the treatment and sometimes its even surgery.
How To Stop Knee Cracking And Popping
If youre having any type of pain, swelling, catching, or locking, those are warning signs that you need to see a doctor, Dr. Slabaugh says. But if youre not having any pain , then doing exercises on your own is very appropriate.
To get started, youll need a few pieces of equipment you can easily find online.
Youll need a long foam roller like this one to do the IT band release.
To alleviate the awkward noises and keep potential injuries at bay, try these exercises, courtesy of Eun Jung Decker at React Physical Therapy, three times a week for maximum results.
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Causes Of Crepitus Or Joint Sounds
Often, crepitus is harmless. It happens when air seeps into the soft tissues around the joint . When you bend the joint, the air bubbles burst, and you hear a cracking sound.
While most crepitus is harmless, some forms of crepitus signal a problem. If the popping or crunching sound comes with pain, you should see a doctor to evaluate the cause.
Causes of painful joint popping may include:
- Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is a condition in which cartilage begins to rub away, leaving bones unprotected and creating inflammation. When bones rub and grind, it causes pain and stiffness that usually gets worse with activity. Read more about arthritis.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome : Also known as runners knee, PFS causes crepitus along with pain behind the kneecap . It can happen when you suddenly increase your activity level and is often caused by running, squatting or jumping. PFS is more common in women than in men. Learn more about knee pain.
- Torn cartilage: A cartilage tear can happen because of a sports injury, a fall or an accident. Cartilage damage is another possible cause of painful crepitus. Find out more about cartilage damage.
Why Is My Knee Replacement Clicking And Popping
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Your Knee Keeps Buckling
When you got hurt, did it feel like your knee gave way underneath you? Were not talking about a temporary sensation of weakness or some wobbliness, but more like your shin and thigh bone werent connecting or staying in place. A buckling knee could signal an ACL tear or a cruciate ligament injury.
It could start with a small pop or crack, or you could feel it after a strenuous exercise session or a soccer game.
Either way, your knee feels unstable or weak. Your knee may give out momentarily, which is scary because you might not trust yourself to walk safely when this happens. According to Dr. Howard Luks, an orthopedic surgeon, this could indicate a tear in the patella or the quadriceps tendon.
These tendons are on the front of your knees and offer a lot of support to keep you upright. If theyre not in top form, youre bound to feel weak in the knees , and you might not be able to walk at all. If this is the case, you could need surgery.
On the other hand, the weakness could be temporary, caused by wear and tear, improper footwear, or a strain. If youre a weekend warrior or youre over the age of 30 , you might experience this symptom on a regular basis.
However, if the weakness is recurring and happens every time you exercise, its possible you have a time bomb thats waiting to happen. When in doubt, seek advice from a physician.
If your knee buckles under you when you are walking, then it usually indicates instability, she says.
You Experience Greater Than Normal Movement
If you feel like your range of motion in the knee is higher than usual, something might be out of place or injured. This is known as joint instability.
You may feel like your knee will buckle or fold with walking, twisting, or weight-bearing.
The sensation of the knee giving away may occur with simple daily activities or upon return to sport following what was thought to be a minor injury, explains Dr. Brown.
Additional episodes of joint instability may worsen the condition of a knee after an injury. Tears of the ACL or MCL and patellar dislocations could also create joint instability, he says.
Hundreds of thousands of exercise injuries occur each year. Among these, knee injuries are the most common.
The best plan of action is to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.
Wear a compression-sleeve-type brace or a knee brace with hinges in the interim, says Dr. Brown.
This may provide some comfort or level of support. Use crutches if you feel like you could fall and suffer additional injury because of knee joint instability.
Another type of hypermobility can occur when the kneecap moves out of place. This condition is called a patella dislocation. Its usually painful when it happens, and it might be sore the next day. If it pops back in by itself, the injury might not be serious. The true test is whether you feel confident that you can resume regular activity later that day or the next day.
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How To Keep Knees Healthy
If youre between 18-64 years old, do a variety of exercises regularly to strengthen your legs and knee joints.
- 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, AND
- Strength training twice a week.
- Do it under the guidance of a personal trainer to prevent injuries.
Also, try to keep your BMI below 25. The higher the BMI, the lower your knee health.
Combine this with a healthy lifestyle for best results eat nutritious foods, sleep well, and take care of your mental health.
If you have knee osteoarthritis, please follow the indications of your healthcare provider to prevent it from getting worse.
Common Reasons Why Your Knees Pop
Why does my knee pop when I walk? the answer to that question might be any of the following:
A loose kneecap produces popping sounds since it rubs with your bones closely. Aside from the fact that a loose kneecap is uncomfortable to bear, it could also be painful when there is too much weight placed on it, just like when standing.
Sometimes, gas can build up around the knee area. When this happens, it messes with the synovial fluid that found in the knee. The gas build up produces tiny bubbles that pops whenever you move your knees, thus causing the annoying sound.
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
A number of mind-body therapies, such as acupuncture and tai chi, may be used to treat knee pain, especially knee osteoarthritis.
While once popular, the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have fallen out of favor for treating knee osteoarthritis. This is due to their lack of benefit based on scientific studies although, some people may obtain mild relief. Like any medication, vitamin, or supplement, be sure to talk with your doctor first before taking it to be certain it is safe for you.
Top Reasons Why Your Knee Feels Like It Needs To Pop Every Now And Then
This is often left ignored and untreated because you wont usually experience inflammation, throbbing and pain immediately after bumping your knee or right after the event of other minor mishaps. This is why patellar dislocation is among the most common knee clicking causes.
In some cases, your knee feels like it needs to pop time and again, long after this group of muscles has been damaged. Since even minor injuries from heavy lifting and other strenuous physical activities can damage the iliotibial band, this is one of the most common knee clicking causes today.
Osteoarthritis among other conditions can result to frequent instances where your knee feels like it needs to pop every now and then. To learn more possible knee clicking causes, you should consult your doctor. Once youve identified the root of your discomfort, your doctor can then devise a solution that can effectively treat your condition as safe as possible.
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Can Physio Help With Clicking Knees
YesPhysio can definitely help anyone who has a kneecap thats clicking or mal-tracking. We can help by looking for any muscular imbalances – you need to keep all the muscles around the hips and thighs strong enough to support the kneecap efficiently. We use a variety of techniques here at the clinic including: k-tape, massage, rehab exercises and custom insoles.
So there you have it, the main reasons why your knees click!
If you or a friend are struggling with knee pain at the moment then click the link below to get in touch. Remember If in any doubt then get it checked out – is our motto!
Types Of Cracking Sound In Knee
Though most doctors use the term crepitus to refer to joint noises, there are specific terms to refer to the kind of noise and the possible reasons for the noise, too. These terms are based on the duration, frequency and loudness of the sound and can be listed as:
- Cracking or popping: Occurs due to popping of gas bubbles in the joint.
- Pop: A pop is a sudden sharp sound that occurs during an injury. Popping sound from the knee may indicate an anterior cruciate ligament injury or a meniscal tear.
- Clunking: It is a single loud sound that occurs when you flex your knee. The clunking sound occurs when you flex your knee against some form of resistance. In patients with total knee arthroplasty, clunking happens when the patella repositions itself in the socket of the femur .
- A clicking sound is again a single sound that you hear when you flex your knee. Though it occurs due to a meniscus tear.
- Grinding or grating sound: It is used to describe a continuous scratching sound from the knee joint. This kind of sound is very common in those with patellofemoral pain syndrome and osteoarthritis of the knee.
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