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Why Are My Knees Cracking

What Are Some Of The Causes Of Knee Cracking

WHY YOUR KNEES CRACK | Joint Crepitations

Now we go into the details of what actually produces the cracking sound with any movement of the knee. For this, we need to first understand about a fluid which is present in the body called the synovial fluid. This fluid is present between the joints in the body and acts as a lubricant or shock absorber. This synovial fluid is present in the synovial membrane which encompasses the end of our bones.

The synovial fluid prevents the bone from rubbing against each other such that there is increased friction between bones which may lead to degeneration of the bones, a condition called as arthritis.

Coming to the cracking sound, when we move a tight or stiff knee, the space between the bones gets expanded which results in a gap being created between the bones where synovial fluid rushes in to fill the gap.1 The movement of the synovial fluid in this gap is what that produces cracking Sound.

There are certain other causes for Knee Cracking as well and these are:

Exercises To Stop Knee Clicking

Prior to beginning any exercises for knee clicking, you should always consult with your doctor, as some exercises can make your condition worse, for example, if you have a tear or misalignment. If your doctor has given you the green light to exercise, then a good place to begin is strengthening the quadriceps, as the muscles that run through the thigh can help better support the knee.

Beneficial exercises for quads include leg extensions or static contractions. An example is quad-setting exercise, which is performed by sitting on the floor with both legs straight. Bend your left knee and put your foot flat on the floor and place a rolled towel beneath your right thigh near the knee. Flex your foot, and lift your heel and calf off the floor. Lower back down. Do not lift your thigh off the towel.

Its also important to have equal strength between your quadriceps and hamstrings, so if your quads are strong but your hamstrings are weak your knees could be feeling the burden. Hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh. To strengthen these muscles, lay face up on the floor with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Lift your toes up and press your heels down, contracting the hamstrings in the process. Hold this for up to 10 seconds, relax, and repeat. Generally, the quads should be only 25 percent stronger than the hamstrings.

Things Your Knees Are Telling You If They Crack Or Pop

If you notice that your knees make cracking or popping sounds when you bend, it can cause a bit of concern. But according to experts, there may not be any reason to worry. Those cracking sounds are completely normal.

âOur bodies are made to move and things that move make noise,â Dr. Austin Misiura, DPT, owner of Pure Physical Therapy, tells Bustle. âAs we use our body tiny irregularities can form. For example, if you get a deep cut, you likely develop a scar which is slightly darker and thicker than the surrounding skin. The same happens if we injure a tissue that we canât see, like a tendon or ligament.â Scars, for the most part, arenât bad. If the tissue surface is not completely smooth, it may âclickâ as you use it.

The cracking, snapping, and popping can become more noticeable with age. But it can happen to anyone. According to Dr. Misiura, there are a few different reasons why knees, or any joint for that matter, makes noise. âMost of them are not necessarily a bad thing,â he says. âThis isnât to be thought of the same way as when your car makes a noise.â

So a good rule of thumb is, if thereâs no pain, youâre likely OK. But here are some things it can mean if your knees crack or pop, according to experts.

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About Cracking Sound From Knees:

It is quite common for everyone to hear a cracking sound whenever there is any movement in their knees, especially after getting up from a seated position for a prolonged period of time like in an airplane, going up and down stairs, walking for long distance. All these things cause the knee joint to become stiff and tight. When you hear the knee crack it gives a feeling of relaxation and pleasure and makes the knee a bit more flexible.

There are two questions that come to mind when the knees crack. The first question is why does this happen and the second question is whether it may cause some harm or injury to the knee joint. The answer to the first question has been delineated in detail below and the answer to the second question is that when there is Knee Cracking it is not the bones that are actually cracking as then it would lead to intense pain and you will not be able to move your knee. Thus, generally Knee Cracking do not cause any injury nor does it predispose you to any medical conditions, except when you already have a known diagnosis of a degenerating knee joint.

A Look At The Knee Joint

Why Do My Knees Crack &  Should I Be Worried?

The knee works like a large hinge. It consists of bones, cartilage, the synovium, and ligaments.

Bones: The knee joins the thighbone to the long bone of the lower leg . The fibula, a bone in the lower leg, is also connected to the joint. The kneecap is the small, convex bone that sits at the front of the knee, shielding the joint.

Cartilage: Two thick pads of cartilage called the menisci cushion the tibia and femur, and reduce friction where they meet.

Synovium: A specialized connective tissue that lines joints and tendon sheaths. Synovial fluid serves to lubricate the joints.

Ligaments: Four ligaments tough, flexible bands that stretch across the uneven surface of the joints connect the bones.

Crepitus happens for various reasons, apart from osteoarthritis. Here are some of them:

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Joint Popping Symptoms & Treatment

In orthopedic medicine and sports medicine, crepitus describes a popping, clicking or crackling sound in a joint. Joint popping sounds may mean that air is moving in the joint, which is usually harmless.

People most often notice crepitus in their knees, but it can also happen in other joints like the shoulder, elbow or neck.

Crepitus with pain can be a sign of wear and tear or injury. If crepitus is painful, you should consult a doctor.

At Aurora Health Care, we offer a range of treatment options for crepitus from noninvasive therapies like bracing to the latest in minimally invasive surgical techniques.

What Is The Clicking

The clicking could occur for a few different reasons. Although the noise can be quite alarming on occasion, they are seldom a reason to worry.

Believe it or not scientists first studied the clicking or popping noise in 1947! There was much debate initially but in 2015 a real-time medical imaging study of joint spaces revealed the answer!!

The noise occurs because tiny air bubbles accumulate within the fluid inside your joints and when you move, they collapse due to the changes in pressure inside the joint. The noise occurs when the gas bubbles collapse. When the bubbles burst this is called cavitation. It is the same process as when you click your knuckles !

In the knee this can occur from either the knee joint itself between the tibia and the femur , known at the tibio-femoral joint or the joint on the front of the knee between the patella and the femur , known as the patellofemoral joint.

This mechanism is why you hear the clicking noise if your physiotherapist or osteopath applies a short, sharp movement to one of your spinal joints. It also explained why you cannot keep clicking the same joint in quick succession. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the gas bubbles to reform.

Here are the other reasons for clicking at the knee that we see in clinic:

Both these conditions are often pain free and are often nothing to worry about.

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Lets Go Over Proper Squat Form

Start by straightening your spine and perfecting your posture: chin up, shoulders down, chest raised and a slight arch in your lower back. Make sure your knees and toes are out putting them out of alignment will hurt your knees. Start your squat from your hips and sit back, keeping your heels on the floor the entire time. When coming out of the squat, engage your glutes for a little extra push.

Types Of Cracking Sound In Knee

How to Fix Knees That Crack & Pop When Squatting |#AskSquatU Show Ep. 7|

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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What Causes A Clicking Sound In The Knee

The knee joints can be noisy. Knee clicking, popping, or crunching sounds are common and typically no cause for concern. Theyre often the result of soft tissue stretching over the joint or bony protrusions.

But if you experience knee clicking with pain or swelling, it may indicate a serious injury or osteoarthritis.

Your knee joint sits where the femur , tibia , and a protective shield called the patella meet. Since the knee bears most of your body weight, its cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are especially vulnerable to everyday wear and tear.

Two pieces of cartilage act as shock absorbers, providing a cushion between the femur and tibia bones. These are the menisci.

Other essential parts of the knee include the articular cartilage, the collateral and cruciate ligaments, and the quadriceps and patellar tendons.

Side Steps With Resistance Band

The outer quad muscle tends to be weaker than the muscle that runs along the top of your thigh, which leads to the kind of imbalance that causes your kneecap to pull out of line. The solution? Strengthen that outer muscle, says Butts.

How to do it:

  • Pull a medium resistance band up right below your knees and lower down into a squat .
  • Move two steps to the right then two steps to the left, working hard to pull your legs apart and stretch the band.
  • Repeat one 30-second to 1-minute set three times.
  • Go here to join Prevention Premium , subscribe to the magazine, or get digital-only access.

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    When I Am Squat My Knees Crack

    Crepitus can be entirely innocuous and very similar to knuckle or back popping. However, the strength of the knee joint can squash all gas hung up in the synovial liquid around your knees during exercises like squats and lungs, causing the blowing sensation and possibly even an audible crack.

    Although this sort of crepitus can be nervousness if you dont know what it is. It is often not painful and damaging. It is prevalent in persons of all ages, and a 2013 study by Clinical Orthopedics and Related Researches has found. That pain-free popping is not caused for concern even in patients who experience crepitus following knee surgery.

    It doesnt signal anything is wrong when you are around the 30s and at a gym and weightlifting, or when youre troubled and listen to popping noises and knocking, explains Dr. Rebecca Shepherd, Head of the Lancaster Health Penn Medicine Department of Rheuma. However, if you are 65 and you have harmed your knees on the stairs and feel that you have a grin, it could be a symptom of osteoarthritis, the typical kind of arthritic wear and tear.

    In many, crepitus may be the rattle of your joint structures and it is an indication of possible knee difficulties to occur. The above information is from Tony DAngelo, certified physical therapist and conditioning specialist, Senior Vice President, Professional Physical Therapy, New York City.

    Damage To The Knee Joint

    Stop Your Knees From Popping and Cracking By Doing These 6 ...

    Sometimes, however, there is an underlying problem, for example, tissue damage or lesions. In this case, treatment may be necessary.

    If there is pain as the knee snaps or catches, it can be because scar tissue, a meniscus tear, or a tendon is moving over a protruding bone within the knee joint.

    Pain or swelling can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome , a tear in the cartilage or other soft tissue, or osteoarthritis .

    These issues may need medical attention. Lets look at them now in more detail.

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    Arthritis Symptoms Associated Knee Crepitus

    Crepitus caused by knee arthritis is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

    • Pain while walking or bending the knee
    • Knee stiffness that improves with gentle stretching or exercise
    • Knee tenderness or soreness, most commonly on the inside of the knee
    • Occasional swelling of the knee

    Many things can cause the creaking or crunching sensation while flexing and extending the knee. A doctor can conduct a clinical exam to determine if knee symptoms are caused by arthritis or another something else, such as patellar motion.

    Natural Home Remedies For Knee Pain

    Sometimes knee pain does not always require a complicated procedure for treatment. There are simple home remedies that can help ease pain and provide relief. Such as

    Assess And Diagnose Your Pain

    Consider the type of pain you experience. Is it moderate or severe?

    Pain from strain, sprains, minor injury, or inflammation are easily self-managed, however, persistent pain requires immediate medical attention.

    RICE Therapy

    Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation are applicable for knee strains or sprains from twisting your legs or falling. Raise the affected leg or feet, apply a cold compress to your knee and wrap with a compression bandage.

    Do not tightly wrap around the affected area so you dont cut off circulation. Keep your legs and feet elevated.


    Daily exercise can go a long way in promoting strong muscles and mobility.

    Physical activities such as cycling, walking, swimming, and yoga not only improve your muscles but also your overall functionality.

    However, rest if you have an injury, severe knee pain, or a flare-up of symptoms.

    Hot And Cold Therapy

    Heat therapy helps ease the pain, while cold therapy reduces inflammation. Alternate between the two, but start with cold therapy for the first two days. Warm baths and showers can help ease stiff joints.


    Research shows that several herbal remedies and ointments can be as effective as some over-the-counter creams. Consult your doctor or physician before using herbal ointments.

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    Why Your Knees Pop When You Squat

    Do you hear a sound from your knee and the surrounding joints? Perhaps more noticeable when you squat?

    This condition is called knee popping. It usually comes with a sudden sharp and well-perceived noise from the knee joints.

    These sounds vary and may sound like grinding, crackling, grating, or crunching. They are more prevalent when performing repetitive knee extensions and flexions or squats.

    A normal knee pop may not signify a debilitating or severe problem. However, if it comes with pain and swelling of the affected area, it may likely be a serious case.

    Why Do My Knees Crack And Pop

    Why does my knee pop and crack?

    For those whose knee crack and pop, they may be wondering why. Also, why do some folks with noisy knees complain of pain while others do not? There is a good bit to address here, so lets get started.

    First, why do some folks have knees that crack and pop? The answer isjust because.

    Well, there is more to it, but there is no one clear reason, so let me explain further. Over time, changes in the body happen. Most of these changes are quite normal, while others we have some control over. Together though, these changes can lead to things such as noisy knees.

    Changes include loss of joint fluid, loss of cartilage, reduction in strength, alterations in bony structure may be related. Additionally, factors such as body weight, tight or weak muscles, inactivity, past or present trauma or injury and there is your list of potential factors. But there is morethis development of noisy knees, knees that crack and pop, is not as simple as adding up a list of factors and trying to determine who it will be. That is because folks large and small, young and old have noisy knees.

    Now to the pain question.

    Why???because along with inactivity reduced strength, flexibility, and weight gain tend to follow. That, plus those individuals who are less active may have a different perception of pain. You read that correctly, those who are inactive tend to perceive pain differently.

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