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Why Does My Knee Pop When I Straighten It

Dont Skimp On Strength Training

Why Does My Knee Click When I Squat & How Do I Fix This?

Strength training offers countless benefits, but specifically building up the muscles around your knee may help mitigate joint pain associated with loss of cartilage, says Dr. Ciotola.

Keeping the quad muscles strong around the knee will help patients tolerate the symptoms of arthritis much better, he says. People who have very strong legs will tolerate a very worn-out joint much better than a couch potato.m

Why Do My Knees Crack

There are a few reasons why knees snap, crackle, and pop. It could be that your knees are cracking because of:

  • Cavitation. This is a process that occurs when the joint pressure in your knee changes. Your joints are surrounded by a liquid called synovial fluid. Carbon dioxide usually dissolves in synovial fluid. When there is a change in the pressure of your joints, carbon dioxide flows out of the synovial fluid, becoming bubbles in the joint. These bubbles form a chamber of air, or a cavity, that makes a popping or cracking sound when it bursts.
  • Tight thigh muscles. If your thigh muscles are too tight, your knees range of motion is limited, and they will make a popping sound when you move.
  • A ligament or tendon that has gotten caught on a bony bump during movement and is snapping back into place.
  • A kneecap that is larger than the indention in your thigh bone where it rests.
  • Cartilage deterioration. As we age, our cartilage wears down and it can become uneven. If the cartilage covering the underside of your knee cap is rough, it can make a clicking sound as it glides across your thigh bone .

Causes Of Knee Pain When Straightening Your Leg

Knee pain can come from a variety of direct causes, whether it’s sprinting downhill or even kicking a ball. However, the most common cause of knee pain is usually doing “too much too soon,” says Tyler Nightingale, DPT, a physical therapist with Bespoke Treatments in New York City. A rapid increase in activity or repetitive performance of a new movement can result in tissue overload, causing swelling or pain.

If you’re feeling pain while straightening the knee, it’s probably due to cartilage or joint surface damage between your larger leg bones , says Nightingale. When you extend your knee, contact between these bones increases, which can cause painful pressure. This damage is usually the result of an injury.

Here, we’ll break down the most common injuries that cause this type of knee pain, which can be categorized as either overuse injuries or traumatic injuries.

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Causes Of Pain Free Clicking Of The Knees When Bending Or Straightening Them

If there is clicking of the knee without any pain, then it commonly occurs from bursting of the accumulated gas bubbles within the knee joint, or snapping of the tendons/ligaments over the knee joint.

Gas Bubbles: Bursting of the gas bubbles is one of the common causes of clicking in the knees on bending or straightening them. There is gradual formation of gas bubbles in the knee joint from changes in joint pressure. When these gas bubbles burst suddenly they result in a popping sound or a clicking sound. This is completely harmless and does not require treatment and does not predispose the patient to arthritis in any which way.

Snapping of Tendons/Ligaments: Tendons and ligaments are the soft tissues that are present around the joints. When there is movement of a knee joint or any other joint, it causes stretching of the tendon or ligament when it passes over a small bony bump after which the tendon or the ligament snaps back into its place resulting in the clicking sound in the knee joint. This is also a harmless condition and does not need any treatment nor does it increase the risk of the patient towards any knee injury.

Knee Pain And Popping Causes

Why Do the Knees Click When You Bend or Straighten Them?

Knee popping and clicking can be caused by a number of things. It may be something simple like the ligaments catching on a bony lump and “snapping” back in to place or gas bubbles popping. But in some cases, knee popping is linked to a more serious injury such as ligament or cartilage tear.

Knee clicking and popping noises in the knee usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Pain-Free Popping Knee: Popping noises in the knee often occur without any pain, in which case they are nothing to worry about
  • Painful Popping Noise at time of Injury: Sometimes when the knee is injured e.g. twisting awkwardly, there is a sudden, loud “pop” at the same time indicating damage to part of the knee
  • Recurrent Painful Popping Noises not Caused by an Injury: Knee pain and popping can come on gradually with no obvious cause. It may happen sporadically or frequently depending on the cause.
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    Tips For Healthy Knees

    • Regular exercise can strengthen your legs and knees. Exercise with weights or resistance bands — or do bodyweight moves, like squats and lunges — at least twice a week. Walk up stairs or hills, or ride a stationary bicycle to build muscle to support your knees.
    • Warm up before you exercise. An intense workout with cold muscles and joints can cause injury.
    • Keep flexible. Before exercise, try dynamic stretches, in which you move a muscle through a full range of motion. After exercise, do static stretches, where you hold a stretch for 30 seconds. This helps prevent injury. Regularly stretch the muscles in the front and back of your thigh .
    • If youâre already exercising, slowly work up to harder, longer workouts.
    • Wear shoes that fit right and are in good condition.

    âThe best thing is to keep the muscles around the knees strong,â McAllister says.

    Show Sources

    Why Does My Knee Lock Up Then Pop

    A meniscus tear

    They can occur when you perform an activity where you forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when you have your full weight on it. Your knee can lock when the torn part of this cartilage gets in the way of your knee moving correctly. Besides knee locking, symptoms include: a popping sensation.

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    Why Do Your Knees Click And Should You Worry

    At Complete we see thousands of knee complaints every year, from an 80 year old gentleman with osteoarthritis to a 23 year old professional footballer following ACL reconstruction.

    One of the most common questions we get in clinics is why does my knee click? So, if you have clicky knees you are certainly not alone!

    Often the question is phrased slightly differently and patients relate it to certain activities, such as.

    Why do my knees click when I walk?Why do my knees click when I squat?Why do my knees click when I go upstairs?Why do my knees click when I go downstairs?

    Next our clinicians would enquire is the clicking painful? If the answer is no then the simple answer is no it does not matter.

    Joints make a variety of noises, patients describe

    popping, snapping, cracking, catching, grinding, grating and clunking!

    The medical term we use for clicking is crepitus, from the Latin meaning to rattle. It is not just old people that experience it, can affect people of all ages!

    The video below is Helen OLeary our clinical director of Complete Pilates. She is a fit and active 34 year old with very clicky and clunky knees .

    She has never injured her knees it does not stop her running or playing sport and she has never had any knee pain. Is she worried now or about the future of her knees?? No not at all!

    Knee Injury: 6 Things To Do For The Pain

    Why can’t I straighten my knee?

    Your plan will depend on your specific injury. Mild to moderate issues will often get better on their own. To speed the healing, you can:

  • Rest your knee. Take a few days off from intense activity.
  • Ice it to curb pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
  • Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint. It will keep down swelling or add support.
  • Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when youre sitting or lying down to cut down on swelling.
  • Take anti-inflammatorymedications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with pain and swelling. Follow the instructions on the label. These drugs can have side effects, so you should only use them now and then unless your doctor says otherwise.
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. You may want to do physical therapy, too.
  • Some people with knee pain need more help. For instance, if you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee. If you have arthritis, you may need an occasional corticosteroid shot to settle down inflammation. And if you have a torn ligament or certain knee injuries, you may need surgery.

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    Why Do My Knees Click Every Time I Squat

    Oftentimes sounds made by the knees when doing squats and lunges, as well as most sounds from other joints in the human body, are classified as normal. In the end, the mechanics of the knees and other joints simply make some level of noise including clicks, cracks and pops when they are in use.

    How Long Can You Walk On A Torn Meniscus

    As this healing occurs, patients progress towards bearing weight, increasing their range of motion, and leaving the knee brace behind. How quickly this progress occurs varies by surgeon, but a typical range is 4-8 weeks. Patients are usually out of the brace and walking without crutches around 2-3 months.

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    When I Straighten Or Stretch My Leg I Feel Pain Behind My Knee What Should I Do

    Difficulty in stretching your leg may be due to a collection of synovial fluid. If you can also feel a swelling in the back of your leg it may be a Bakers cyst which makes the knee feel tight. This is not serious, but if it does not clear up you should see your doctor. Swelling in the calf may be a blood clot in the popliteal vein which is serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible particularly if the swelling is accompanied by warm/red tender skin. Difficulty in straightening your leg may also be due to arthritis or a tear in a meniscus. You should see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis.

    What Are The Treatment Options

    Stop Knee Popping and Cracking Noises With These Stretches

    Identifying the underlying cause of why you can not straighten your knee will provide the best clinical results. Conservative therapy when appropriate is always the first line of treatment.

    Meniscus tear

    Not all meniscus tears are painful. In fact, in one study 60% of patients without pain had meniscus tears on MRI. PRP is effective in the treatment of meniscus tears. Steroids should be avoided as they are toxic. Meniscus surgery has been demonstrated to be no better than PT . In addition, it increases the risk of knee instability and arthritis. To learn more about the treatment of meniscus tears please click on the video below.


    Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease where the cartilage that lines and protects the joint gradually wears down resulting in pain, swelling, and restriction in movement. Approximately 13% of women and 10% of men aged 60 years and older have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis . Risk factors for knee osteoarthritis include obesity, female gender, repetitive knee trauma, muscle weakness, squatting, and meniscus injuries . Loss of cartilage and bone spur formation can both result in you not being able to straighten your knee.

    ACL Injuries

    Patellar and Quadriceps Tendon Injuries

    Take a deeper dive here:

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    What Causes My Knee To Click And Do I Need To Worry

    If youve experienced clicking and catching of your knee, youre not alone. This is a common problem that may be minor and mean nothing at all or it could indicate more serious damage that will require the attention of a skilled knee specialist. At Plano Orthopedic, were always here when needed to help make an accurate diagnosis and provide you with the most effective treatment possible!

    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.

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    Is It Possible For Adults To Have Growing Pains

    No one knows for certain what causes âgrowing pains.â They are defined as self-limited and recurrent pains in the extremities of children with no other explanation or clear musculoskeletal causes. These usually occur during sleep and may awaken the child. Some physicians believe they occur due to fatigue, overuse, and mild orthopedic abnormalities, but the cause is still unknown. No matter what causes growing pains, we know that adults do not have them â most growing pains occur between age 2 and 12. It is possible to have similar pains, however, due to very mild injuries or overuse of muscles.

    What Causes Knee Pain

    How to Fix Knee Snapping and Pop Sounds

    Knee pain can have many different causes. Common causes of knee pain include:

    • Overuse injury
  • Can become irritated as a result of injury, excessive pressure, or overuse
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Meniscus tear
  • Traumatic tears occur when a sudden, twisting force tears an otherwise healthy meniscus common in young athletes
  • Degenerative tears occur when routine forces tears menisci that have become soft and weak due to age, arthritis, or other factors most common in patients over age 40
  • Ligament tear
  • Muscle strains
  • Often occurs in sports requiring rapid acceleration and deceleration such as basketball, softball, American football, soccer, and less commonly in fitness activities such as jogging, swimming, rowing
  • Other knee injuries such as fractures or dislocations
  • Knee joint infection
  • Gout, which causes crystals to form inside joints
  • Conditions that dont involve the knee
  • Hip problems may result in knee pain
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    Why Do My Knees Pop

    It happens to us all: You stand up after sitting for a while and you hear a loud “pop.” Why do knees do that? Is it bad?

    Here are the short answers: 1) crepitus and 2) probably not, but possibly yes. Read on to find out why this happens, and when it’s worth worrying about.

    Popping knees can be alarming, but are usually not a cause for concern.Crepitus in the Knee

    Diet: High Potassium And Sugar:

    A recent study shows that too much potassium and sugar in the diet may be detrimental to the knee joint. The study found that too much potassium caused cells in the synovial fluid to die, leading to a decrease in lubrication of the joint. This could lead to degeneration, inflammation, and arthritis. Too much sugar can cause inflammation by increasing blood glucose levels, which triggers an inflammatory response in the immune system.

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    Reasons For Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

    Arthroscopic knee surgery may be a treatment option for certain types of knee pain. Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that involves inserting a small camera inside the joint. Through other small incisions, instruments can be inserted to repair or remove damaged structures. Arthroscopic knee surgery is often called “scoping the knee” or knee arthroscopy.

    Many different surgical procedures that are commonly performed arthroscopically were once performed through the larger incisions. The advantage of arthroscopy he is being able to perform those surgical procedures without damaging normal structures around the joint. By being less invasive, the hope is there will be less pain and a faster recovery.

    However, arthroscopic surgery is still a major surgical procedure, involves risks, and requires appropriate postoperative rehabilitation. It is important that you understand the nature of any surgical procedure being considered, the risks involved, and the postoperative recovery that will be necessary to achieve a successful result.

    Knee Crackles When Bending

    Why Do Your Knees Crack and How to Prevent It?

    Have you ever been surprised when your knee crackles? Maybe you were stretching at the time or just standing up after a long time sitting. Perhaps you were climbing stairs or walking down the street. No matter the case, you may be wondering why it happens and if there is anything you can do to prevent it. You might also be asking yourself if it is something you need to worry about or it is just a part of life.

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