Clicking knees! – Should I Be Worried?

We regularly have people say to us “my knees are always make a clicking or cracking sound. Why is this and should I be worried?” 

To start off, clicking sounds that come when you move your knees are very common. I have heard all sorts of sounds coming from knees and normally it is the patient that is more alarmed by it, rather than the physio. In fact, patients can sometimes get a little bit embarrassed by the cracking or clicking noise in their knee as if it is something to be a little ashamed over. 

The fact is, however, that there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about over these noises. I always tell them that if there is NO pain with these noises and your knee feels stable, then there  is usually nothing to be worried about. 

So what is happening?

There can be a few things happening that can cause these weird and wonderful sounds. One common reason can be a build up of pressure in the joint that can be caused from the natural release of waste products and exchange of gases. The ‘crack’ can be the sound when this pressure is released when you move your leg. 

Another reason of a ‘snapping’ sound can be from tendons or ligaments moving over a bump in the bone when you move your knee. If there is excess tension here sometimes there can be a ‘snap’ when the tendon moves back into place. 

It is important to note that a lot of these noises are natural and do not mean that you are more at risk of developing arthritis in your knee. 

When should you be concerned?

If these ‘popping’ or ‘clicking’ noises are accompanied with pain or swelling then there can be some reason for concern, depending on the frequency and amount of pain and swelling. Swelling is a sign that something is not quite happy in the knee and if it continues, then your knee will need to be assessed by a physio or a suitably qualified healthcare professional 

If pain is involved wit a ‘popping’ sound then there are a few reasons that can be causing this. It could be caused by osteoarthritis, where the cartilage has worn down and the bones are rubbing off each other. Normally swelling will also be present here.

It could also be caused by a loose piece of cartilage that is getting caught when the knee moves. Again, this will normally be accompanied by pain.  

Another reason could be a roughness on the inside of the kneecap and this can be know as chondromalacia patella. This will be uncomfortable, especailly with kneeling and any squatting type movements. 

However, it is important to note that even if you have some of the symptoms that I mentioned above it is not all doom and gloom. There can still be quite a bit done to help people who have wear and tear in their knee. 

By ensuring that they have adequate strength and stability and they are not moving in a way that puts extra stress through their knee, can make a big difference to the persons ease of movement and quality of life. 


What should you do.

If you are suffering with some knee pain and are not sure what to do, then going to see a physio can be the best first step. 

We can find out a lot of information by doing an assessment on your knee and let you know what needs to be done to get you the outcome you are looking for. 

Whether that means being able to walk further and for longer, being able to cycle your bike on a regular basis, or being able to play with your kids or grand-kids in the evening. 

This outcome will be unique to you and what you makes you live a happy and fulfilling life.

If you are unsure of a ‘popping’ or ‘clicking’ sound in your knee or if you are getting knee pain and would like to get it assessed, then call the clinic on 09064 66761 and we will let you know what we can do to help.

Or if you would like to request a call back from a physio then click the button below and we will get back to help answer your questions.  

Request a call back from a physio about your knee problem
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