It’s not uncommon for people to experience cracking and popping in the joints once in a while. It mainly occurs in the knee joint.
Did you actually know that the knee is the largest joint in your body?
It consists of the three bones (the thigh bone, the tibia and the patella). The kneecap plays as a shielding convex, located at the front of the knee.
Menisci are two cartilages, which envelop the shinbone and the femur, diminishing friction between these bones.
There is also a capsule (synovial membrane), which coats the knee joint and generates a fluid for lubrication of the cartilage.
Noisy knee clicking is medically called crepitus. It may happen at any age, but older people are more likely to have it.
It’s worth knowing the most common reasons for knee cracking, as it may be a sign of serious problem:
#1. Air bubbles – with time, gas accumulates inside the joint, forming bubbles in the synovial fluid. When you bend your knees, these bubbles burst, causing cracking and crunching sounds. Don’t panic, it’s completely normal to hear burst of air bubble from time to time.
#2. «Runner’s knee» – this condition, medically called patellofemoral syndrome, happens, when the cartilage in the knee joint softens and loses its smoothness. It commonly affects those, who exercise vigorously or increase intensity of physical activity suddenly. That leads to excessive pressure between the patella and the thigh bone, boosting risks of the trauma.
Individuals with so-called «runner’s knee» suffer from pain, swelling and crepitus in the damaged area.
You can relieve this unpleasant syndrome, using ice compressions, anti-inflammatory drugs or physical therapy. But sometimes surgical intervention may be needed.
#3. Osteoarthritis – statistic data notifies that about 27 American people live with osteoarthritis. In this disorder, the cartilage between the bones tears bit by bit that causes rubbing of the bones’ surfaces. Patients with osteoarthritis usually complain of pain and loss of mobility, accompanied by clicking in the affected joints. In vast majority of cases, this problem occurs in weight-bearing joints, such as a knee joint. That’s why those, who are overweight or obese, are more likely to suffer from OA than people with normal body mass index.
Doctors say that reaching healthy weight and taking medications can help you stay off surgery. If left untreated, osteoarthritis would progress, requiring knee replacement intervention.
#4. Torn meniscus – crackling and popping in the knee may be a symptom of a torn cartilage. People often get this problem during sport activities, especially when become older.
Anti-inflammatory medicines, rest and ice application are the most effective cure methods for torn meniscus.
#5. Previous knee surgery – nearly 18% of people, who had knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) experience harmless crepitus in the joint.