During specific bending movements such as squats or kneeling, your knees may make an audible sound of a crack or click. Typically this isn’t something to be too concerned about, as there are several reasons why our joints tend to make these sounds. Popping and cracking start to become a normal noise after years of physical activity and even normal aging. The time to grow concerned is if the popping or cracking noises result in a swollen knee or painful area to touch or move.
According to Dr. David McAllister, Director of the UCLA Sports Medicine Program, “A lot of joints crack and the knees are a really common joint to crack. Most people have knees that crack when they squat down or go through the full arc of motion. We generally don’t worry about cracking or popping when it isn’t associated with pain or swelling.”
So, just out of curiosity, what does that sound mean? Well throughout your life, tissues that cover the bones, otherwise known as cartilage, becomes uneven in certain areas. Standing up after squatting sometimes produces a noise made from the rougher surfaces of cartilage rubbing together. There is also another reason for that sound, and it comes from the ligaments which connect bone to bone in the body. During movement, these ligaments tighten, causing the joint lining to move over bones and create popping sounds. It’s all related to the way our inside structures work together with external body parts.
If the knee clicking starts to become painful and frequent, you should seek the help of a qualified physician. This condition might be associated with several knee ailments including: Runner’s Knee, arthritis, damage to the meniscus, and in severe cases — an ACL or MCL tear. In these cases, there are certain symptoms to look out for including: stiffness, bruising, inflammation, and chronic pain.
Knee clicking without pain is very common in adults and children. Many times this noise comes from the sound of excess air escaping the joint. It’s similar to the sound and feeling felt after cracking knuckles. Although this sound may be irritating, there is no real cause for concern. There are several home remedies that can help prevent this problem.
If there is a certain activity that is known to make this audible noise in your knee, you may consider modifying or avoiding this activity. If the activity is not easy to avoid, wearing a band around your knee may prevent this clicking noise as well. Performing strengthening exercises for your knees and hamstrings can help provide more support to this area and may be helpful as well.
Knee clicking is something most of us experience at one time or another, and in the end, if the clicking does not cause physical discomfort, there is probably no real cause for serious concern.