Quite a lot of people start worrying about their knees making pops and cracks sound. In most cases, these noises are not indicative of any underlying problem. Many people have knees that make these noises when they squat down or go through the full arc of motion. But when the cracking or popping is accompanied with pain or swelling, then it should be treated.
Why Does Knees Make Noise?
As we age, cartilage, which is the tissue that covers the bones can develop uneven areas. When we squat or stand, the sound comes from these rougher surfaces gliding across each other. The same sound could also emit from another tissue called ligaments that connects one bone to the other.
Also while aging, gas can build up in the areas surrounding the joint, forming tiny bubbles in the synovial fluid. When you bend your knee, some of the bubbles burst, and ligaments may snap or pop. This is normal, and happens to everyone from time to time.
When Should You Worry?
If you have cracking or popping that does cause pain or swelling, it can be a sign of:
– Meniscus tears, which is often caused by sudden, acute trauma, such as twisting while playing sports.
– Cartilage injury or wear.
– Knee crepitus, another term for cracking and popping sounds, is one of the common symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA). It also can be one of the symptoms of rheumatoid or infectious arthritis, and may accompany several different types of knee injuries.
Crepitus is harmless and needs no treatment when it isn’t caused by disease, injury, another condition, and doesn’t hurt. But, when pain accompanies a crunchy knee, treatment will depend on the underlying cause. In rare cases, surgery or joint replacement may be necessary.