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If you’ve been noticing a clicking sound when you move your knee, you’re not alone. Many people experience this issue at some point in their lives. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and can be treated with simple measures. However, there are also instances where clicking knees indicates a more serious problem.

You may be wondering why is my knee clicking?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of knee clicking and the treatment options available. Stay tuned!

The Knee Joint

Before we dive into the causes and treatment of knee clicking, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the knee joint.

The knee is a complex joint made up of several bones, ligaments, and tendons. The femur (thigh bone) meets the tibia (shin bone) at the knee joint. This joint is held together by ligaments, which are strong bands of tissue that connect the bones. The knee also has a layer of articular cartilage, called the meniscus, which provides cushioning between the bones.

There are also two small bones at the back of the knee joint, called the patella (knee cap). The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscle, which helps you straighten your leg.

The four main ligaments of the knee are:

– The medial collateral ligament (MCL)

– The lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

– The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

– The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

The MCL and LCL attach the femur to the tibia and stabilize the knee joint. The ACL and PCL attach the femur to the patella and help keep the knee stable.

Now that we’ve reviewed the anatomy of the knee joint, let’s take a look at what the popping sound is.

Knee Crepitus

Knee crepitus is the medical term for the popping, crunching, or grinding sound that you may hear when you move your knee. This noise is caused by the movement of gas bubbles, fluid in the joint, or scar tissue.

Crepitus is a common condition and is usually not painful. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and will resolve on its own. However, there are also times when noisy knees can be an underlying cause sign of a more serious problem.

If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, or instability in your knee, it’s important to see a doctor. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition, such as an injury to the ligaments or meniscus.

Why Is My Knee Clicking?

There are several reasons why you may be hearing a clicking sound when you move your knee. In most cases, it’s due to a harmless condition or temporary injury. However, there are also some more serious causes of knee clicking that should be evaluated by a doctor.

Here are some of the most common reasons why you feel your knee popping:

Meniscus tears: A torn meniscus is when there is a tear in the crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the femur and tibia. Cartilage tears are a common knee injury that can cause a clicking, popping, or cracking sound.

Loose bodies: Loose bodies are small pieces of bone or cartilage that float around in the joint space. They can be caused by trauma or degenerative changes in the joint. Loose bodies can cause a popping sensation when they move around in the joint.

Joint effusion: Effusion is when there is an abnormal amount of fluid in the joint space. This can cause the knee to feel swollen and make it difficult to move. Joint effusion can also cause a popping sound when the fluid is moving around in the joint.

Patellar subluxation: Patellar subluxation is a condition in which the patella (knee cap) slides out of place. This can cause a clicking or popping sound when the knee is moved.

Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. There are several types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common type that affects the knees. Osteoarthritis can cause a crunching or grinding sound when the joint is moved.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome: Patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee is a condition that causes pain in the front of the knee. It can be caused by overuse, such as from running or squatting. This condition can also cause a clicking sound when the knee is moved.

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Treatment For Clicking Knees

The treatment for knee clicking will depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, no treatment is necessary and the noise will resolve on its own. However, if the clicking is due to an injury or arthritis, treatment may be necessary.

Treatments for knee clicking include:

Rest: If your knee is injured, it’s important to rest and avoid activities that aggravate the joint.

Ice: Applying ice to the knee can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Anti-inflammatory medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve the range of motion of your knee joint. Getting your soft tissue and overall joint used to move through its full range of motion is the first step to a healthy joint.

Knee brace: A knee brace can help stabilize the joint and protect it from further injury when you are suffering from muscle weakness.

Surgery: In some cases, knee surgery may be necessary to repair an injury or correct a deformity.

When To See A Doctor For Clicking Knees

Most of the time, knee clicking is nothing to worry about and will resolve on its own. However, there are also times when it can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:

Knee joint pain that is not relieved by rest or ice

– Swelling or redness around the knee

– Inability to put weight on your knee

– Knee instability or giving way

– Locking or catching of the knee

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. They will be able to determine if the clicking is due to a more serious condition and recommend the best treatment for you.

Surgeries For Clicking Knees

In some cases, knee surgery may be necessary to repair an injury or correct a deformity. The most common surgeries for clicking knees include:

Arthroscopic surgery: This is a minimally invasive surgery that is used to remove debris from the joint or repair a torn ligament.

Knee replacement surgery: This surgery is used to replace the damaged joint with an artificial one. This procedure is generally only utilized as a last resort.

Osteotomy: This surgery is used to realign the bones around the joint.

If you’re experiencing knee clicking, it’s important to see a doctor to determine if surgery is necessary.

Risk Factors For Developing Popping Knees

Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing popping knees, including:

Age: As you age, the cartilage in your joints starts to break down. This can lead to arthritis and other degenerative joint conditions.

Gender: Women are more likely to develop knee problems than men.

Obesity: Being overweight puts extra stress on your joints, which can lead to pain and inflammation.

Repetitive activities: Activities that involve repetitive motion, such as running or jumping, can put extra stress on the knees and lead to joint problems.

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to be aware of the potential for developing knee problems. You should take steps to protect your joints and see a doctor if you start to experience pain or other symptoms.

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Conclusion

If you’re wondering why is my knee clicking, there are several potential causes. In most cases, the clicking is harmless and will resolve on its own. However, if the clicking is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out a more serious condition.

There are several treatment options available for those suffering from clicking knees, ranging from physical therapy to surgery. The best course of treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the problem.

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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