Why My Knee Cracks?

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Have you ever wondered why your knee cracks? Have you moved your knee and heard a loud pop or crack coming from your knees? The medical term for the crack is crepitus and this sound can scary a lot of people who wonder what is wrong with their knees.

What is very good to know is that no research up to today has demonstrated definitive correlation between cracking noise and the actual injury. In a Study (MCCO ET AL. 1987) in a population with no pain in the knee 99% had knee crepitus.

What's is The Cracking Sound?

Inside the joint a displacement of two articular surfaces creates a vacuum and leads to a gas bubbles within the synovial fluid with the characteristic pop sound. Interesting enough habitual knuckle cracking does not increase the risk for Arthritis (CASTELLANOS & AXELROD 1990).

Crepitus can be totally benign and is very similar to popping your knuckles or back. During exercises like squats and lunges the force on your knee joint can squish any gas that's hanging out in the synovial fluid surrounding your knee causing a popping sensation or maybe even an audible crack.

Physiotherapy Cracking Knee
Cracking Knee

Is Knee Cracking A Sign Of Damage?

We need to differentiate between a pop sound which happen with some movements to constant joint structures grating against each other which could be a sign of serious knee problems.

Crepitus can develop from poor alignment of the knee, overweight, muscle weakness. It results in the progressive wearing away of the protective cartilage within the joint. Over time, the wearing becomes worse, and when the soft cartilage is worn away enough, it becomes very painful and leads to an arthritic joint.

What Do To If My Knee Is Painful?

If you are experiencing pain along with crepitus, it's important to stop what you are doing and seek medical attention from a qualified Chartered Physiotherapist, Glauber Barduzzi is highly experience with knee degeneration and can help determine exactly what's going on within your knee joint as well as the best course of treatment, if needed.

For improved knee function and health, he recommends strengthening the quadriceps (on the front of the thigh) and gluteal muscles (which make up your butt). These muscle groups help center the patella within its groove and reduce the load to the knee joint.

So remember, if you hear clicks and pops in your knee but feel no pain or swelling, don’t worry. If you have pain, instability or swelling, make sure you check it out to avoid further damage to the joint.

If you are experiencing undiagnosed knee pain, use our website to book an appointment with Glauber Baduzzi.

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