Weird Knee Noises: What’s Going On?

Weird Knee Noises: What’s Going On?

You might hear cracking or popping sounds in your knees, especially if you’re over 30 years old. This cracking, popping or crunching noise is called “crepitus.” And the good news is that there’s usually no need to be concerned about knee noises at all. But why does this noise happen (especially as we age) and is there anything we can do to stop it?

Firstly, if your cracking or popping also involves some pain or swelling, or if there is suddenly more knee noises than before and you’re not sure why, then you might want to have a health care professional check it out as there may be the possibility of a tear or other injury to your knee.

What's Causing Your Knee Noises?

There are a few reasons you might be hearing these noises: one is that the cartilage that covers the bones in your knees can develop uneven surfaces, so when you then bend or straighten your knees these uneven surfaces rub together causing noises. Or the sound may be coming from the ligaments or tendons in your knees moving over the bony structures in your knees and causing a popping or clicking sound. The sound could even be coming from gas bubbles that can build up inside the synovial fluid of your knee, and the bubbles pop when you bend or straighten your knees.

Normal causes of knee noises include osteoarthritis, patellofemoral instability, ligaments or tendons slipping, post-surgical effects.

What Can You Do to Help Knee Noises and Pain?

Once serious causes of crepitus are ruled out, you can get treatment for pain or discomfort that accompanies crepitus, especially if the cause of your knee noises is arthritis. This treatment should probably (at least initially) involve physiotherapy or chiropractic care, as these two professions in Ontario can offer a legal diagnosis for you. But with or without this diagnosis you can seek help from manual therapists and possibly also benefit from acupuncture, massage therapy and also osteopathy.

What these manual therapies can do for you is potentially help relieve any tension or imbalance in the structures that surround your knee. And your manual therapist at Yellow Gazebo can also suggest stretching and/or strengthening exercises that will help you resolve the pain you’re feeling.

At home you can try applying heat (or ice if that’s your preference), doing a bit of walking or biking (whichever doesn’t cause you pain), wearing more supportive shoes, and making sure you stretch and strengthen the right muscles in your knees.

If you’d like some more information on how we can help with your knee crepitus, would like to book a free consultation or would like to go ahead and schedule an appointment at Yellow Gazebo, please give us a call at 416-909-2334, email us at, or use the online booking link below. We’ll be happy to help you get on your way to optimum health.

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