Do Your Knees Make A Clicking Sound When You Do Squats And Lunges
As part of a regular exercise regimen, you may do squats and lunges. Indeed, squats and lunges are beneficial forms of exercise. In recent times, you may have started to notice one or both of your knees making a clicking sound while you do squats or lunges. Naturally, you may be wondering what causes this sound and whether it is a symptom that requires professional attention.
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. Provided a person does not experience any pain when the clicking sound occurs when doing squats and lunges, the noise medically is classified as benign crepitus, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Even though benign crepitus or a harmless knee clicking sound is not harmful , it can be annoying to a person working out. The most effective way of lessening or eliminating a knee clicking sound is to engage in a thorough stretching routine before working out. In addition, enhancing strength training exercises that focus on the knees and legs represents another strategy to lessen this issue.
Massage therapy can also be useful in lessening or eliminating knee clicking sounds associated with squats and lunges. (In addition, a person garners an array of other benefits from massage therapy, including stress reduction.
What Does Clicking In The Knee Mean
If you feel some pain as the clicking/popping occurs, it could be a sign of a meniscus tear, which means there is a small piece of loose cartilage caught in the knee. Treatment for a torn meniscus commonly includes rest, pain relievers and physical therapy. Less commonly, surgery may be required. Osteoarthritis.
Vastus Medialis Oblique Activation
Your VMO, a.k.a. the tear-drop shaped quad muscle that runs along the inside of the kneecap, is often one of the weaker muscles on the thigh, says Reavy. Again, that can pull your kneecap off track. The solution? You guessed it: strengthen it.
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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.
Crepitus And The Crackling Sounds In Your Joints
Crepitus is the abnormal popping or crackling sound in either a joint or the lungs, which may be faint or loud enough for people to hear. It is often accompanied by a popping or crunching sensation that may sometimes be uncomfortable or painful.
Crepitus in the joints is typically related to joint damage. Crepitus in the lungs is caused when collapsed or fluid-filled air sacs abruptly open upon inspiration.
Crepitus is not so much a condition but rather a descriptive characteristic that healthcare providers use to pinpoint the source of the problem. The term crepitus is derived from the Latin for rattling or creaking.
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Causes Of Knee Clicking
Patients often ask, Why is my knee clicking? Associated symptoms can indicate whether your knee clicking is serious. For example, knee clicking when straightening the leg is particularly common and is often totally normal. Knee clicking and pain, however, may be a sign that something is wrong.
Depending on the symptoms, the cause of knee clicking may be due to one of the following common causes:
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.
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Tips To Stop The Clicking In Your Knees
Now that you know the potential causes and exercises for knee clicking, here are some other tips to help stop the clicking in your knees.
- Strengthen your knees with exercise and stretches.
- Squat correctly by sitting back, keeping your feet on the floor.
- Always warm up prior to any physical activity.
- Improve hip mobility.
- Use a foam roller to target soft tissue trigger points.
- Learn to jump properly by landing with knees slightly bent, not straight.
- Eat healthy what you eat can help lubricate your joints.
- Stop activities that cause pain.
- Wear proper footwear.
Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.
Visit A Knee Specialist
At New York Bone & Joint Specialists, we treat all types of orthopedic disorders, including traumas and degenerative diseases of the knee. If your knee has become painful due to age or injury, its time to book an appointment with our staff. We can recommend effective treatment options and get you back on track.
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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:
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Who Is At Risk For Injuries Related To Knee Instability
Risk factors for injuries related to knee weakness include:
- Engaging in sports, especially football, lacrosse, basketball, or skiing
- Ignoring knee pain: Pain is your bodys sign something is wrong. If you let it persist unchecked, you could be allowing its cause to worsen.
- History of torn ligament surgery
Complications of weak knees may include:
- Recurrent falls
- Lack of confidence with balance
- Feeling scared or nervous about future falls
- Injuries because of falls
You should see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing the sensation of your knee giving out.
Seek immediate medical care if your knee gives out and you experience severe pain, significant swelling, or a fever.
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These Stretches Will Help You With The Clicks And Pops
- Strengthen your quadriceps and gluteal muscles
- Help you with your squatting form
- Make you aware to stretch before applying a lot of pressure on the knees
If you are sitting most of the day or youre overworking, your muscles they can get quite stiff so its important that we help improve the muscle elasticity. We recommend investing in a foam roller. A basic foam roller can cost less than $10.
- Placing the foam roller on the floor and placing your front quads on top of it.
- Make sure you dont go over the knee cap and can reduce the pain level by putting more pressure on your arms.
- Move up and down slowly of the entire length of the muscle finding tight spots. Let it sit on thigh spots for a few seconds so it can work deeper into the tissue.
Foam Rolling Thigh
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!
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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.
Treatment For Knee Pain
The first step in treating knee pain is finding the underlying cause. A thorough examination at one of our ProBack Clinics will help identify exactly whats causing the problem. After a diagnosis is made, treatmentcan be undergone to relieve the pain, correct the problem or prevent it from recurring in the future.
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Real Worry: Loud Pop At Time Of Injury Followed By Swelling Instability And Giving Way
When a patient says to me, Doc, I heard a pop and my knee swelled, it is definitely a cause for concern. If there is a pop at the time of injury, the knee has almost certainly been damaged. You have most likely injured either your ligaments anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligamentor medial collateral ligament or the meniscusor articular cartilage. The knee will usually swell up after these kinds of injuries.
If there is pain, swelling, or giving way of the knee, we will do a careful exam, history, X-ray, and MRI. By studying the cartilage and soft tissue within the knee, we can determine which tissues need to be repaired. Sometimes careful physical therapy, combined with injections, can fix the problem and help you avoid surgery.
So remember: If you hear clicks and pops in your knee but feel no pain or swelling, dont worry. It is normal. If you have pain, instability, or swelling, make sure you check it out to avoid further damage to the joint. The philosophy on this has changed from rest your knee and wait until you are older for a joint replacement to fix the problem ASAP by repairing, regenerating, or replacing the missing tissue and cartilage so that you may never develop arthritis or need a knee replacement.
While it is always best to hear the sounds of silence, snap, crackle, and pop sometimes need to be listened to as well.
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 .
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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.
Should You Worry About Knee Clicking
If the clicking is causing you pain or making it difficult to move then it is important to seek medical attention to determine whether or not you’re suffering an injury that could be causing damage to your body. Your doctor will examine your knee to determine what is causing the clicking noise to help narrow down what kind of treatment is appropriate.
When the clicking knee is not accompanied by other side effects such as pain or swelling then it may not be cause for concern. Many times the knee will click when it is expelling excess air that has become trapped in the joint. It may also be a sign that the knee is righting itself when it is experiencing excess pressure or friction in the area. This is similar to the sensation or noise that you experience when you “crack” your knuckles or other joints.
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How To Treat Clicking Knees
Knee clicking can often be treated at home. If excessive exercise is causing the clicking, providing additional support during your exercise routine can help alleviate your discomfort. Wearing a supportive band around the knee can help alleviate this condition. Just be sure to pick a proper sized band for your body size so that it does not cut off the circulation to the rest of the leg.
Sometimes exercise to strengthen the knee can help alleviate the clicking you are experiencing. Working the quadriceps is a common choice for this.
Common exercise for this is a quad setting.
- Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you.
- Slowly bend the knee and but the foot on the floor with a rolled up towel sitting underneath the opposing thigh.
- Flex the foot on your bend leg and lift the calf off the floor, hold for ten seconds and then slowly lower it back down, taking care not to lift the opposing leg off of the towel.
- Repeat several sets of these with each leg as necessary.
You can also exercise the hamstrings to help provide the knee with more support while you perform other activities.
For more idea of what to do if your knee clicks, watch a video: