Have you heard an occasional click, pop, and snap when you straighten or bend your knee? You can also feel these clicks when you walk or get up from a chair. The medical term for this clicking sound is crepitus. Is the clicking sound in the knee a reason to worry? In most cases crepitus in the knee is not a reason for concern. But if you also experience pain along with this, then you may need to consult your doctor.
In this article we will discuss what causes the clicking sound in the knee and how to fix this issue.
What is this clicking sound in the knee?
Clicking sound in the knee occurs due to many reasons and in most cases, there is no need to worry. This noise can occur due to tiny air bubbles that accumulate within the fluid inside your joints. Any activity or movement puts a pressure on the inside of the joints causing these bubbles to burst. Hence the noise occurs when these bubbles burst. This process of the bubbles bursting is called cavitation.
This is experienced by everyone every now and then. Crepitus due to air bubbles does not cause pain and is normal.
If crepitus is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, then it could be a certain condition causing it. Here are some other causes of crepitus in the knee:
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage which cushions the bones wears down. This is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints that are overused such as the knees.
Overuse and stress can cause the cartilage cushion to break down. This causes inflammation and pain. If you experience crepitus in the knee along with pain it could be a symptom of osteoarthritis.
Crepitus can also occur due to any trauma or in jury to your knee area. Direct blow to the knee can damage the kneecap or other parts of the knee joint. In this case, clicking in the knee can be a sign of trauma or damage.
Meniscus tears are common in people who play sports or run. Tears can cause clicking sounds in the knee. Another type of injury causes damage to the cartilage covering the kneecap. This injury can cause some pain behind the kneecap due to overuse.
Crepitus can occur after surgery. Changes that occur after surgery can cause clicking in the knee. After surgery the knees can become noisier.
Can physiotherapy help with clicking knees?
Physiotherapy can be useful in treating crepitus in the knee. A physiotherapist can examine your knee to come up with a treatment plan for you. Before you start physiotherapy ensure that you consult your doctor to determine what is causing crepitus. Physiotherapy and exercises can help strengthen muscles that support the joint and make the knees more flexible.
A physiotherapist can help you perform exercises to ensure you do them correctly. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help support the kneecap. If you have been diagnosed with a condition like osteoarthritis, then physiotherapists use a range of techniques like active and passive treatments to help improve your knee.
Physiotherapy is also beneficial if you have sustained an injury and are recovering from a surgery. In both scenarios physiotherapy is important.
Other ways to treat crepitus
As mentioned above, crepitus is normal in most cases. In case of any other symptoms consult a doctor. Apart from the treatment the doctor will recommend, here are some measures you can take to manage your symptoms.
- Exercising like walking or swimming can help with better circulation and restore movement.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Exercising can also help you maintain a healthy weight and promote overall health.
- Apply heat and ice packs to reduce inflammation.
- Wear the right shoes that fit you properly. Improper footwear can cause injuries easily. Wearing the right shoes can prevent knee pain and prevent serious knee problems.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you manage crepitus and other symptoms in the knees. If you feel that the clicking sound in your knees does not feel normal, then consult your doctor. Physical therapy is a great way to manage symptoms you may have due any knee related conditions. Regular exercise and other manual therapy treatments can help with your rehabilitation. If you have had any knee surgery or sports related injury then you may want to go for physiotherapy as it can help improve your knee and make it more flexible.
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