Did you hear your knee click?
If you have heard clicking sounds from your knee, without any accompanying pain, there’s generally nothing to worry about. When the cartilage covering the bones is uneven, it may cause clicking sounds when you sit or stand.
However, if your knee clicks and you also experience intense discomfort and/or pain, along with the clicking, it is time to visit an orthopedic doctor. Such clicking may be caused by an injury or degeneration of the cartilage in the joint.
3 common reasons for the clicking sounds in your knee include –
Between the thigh bone and the lower leg bone, there lies a cushion of cartilage, also known as the meniscus. If the knee undergoes a sudden twist while playing sports, it can cause the meniscus to tear. Or, the cartilage may undergo age-related wear and tear even without any injury. When the meniscus tears, you may hear a popping and clicking.
The treatment for a meniscus tear depends on the extent of the rupture. But RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) of the leg is usually recommended. Meniscus tears may be treated with physical therapy, especially in older patients. For younger, more active patients, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to trim and repair the cartilage.
The runner’s knee or chondromalacia patella is common among runners. It leads to pain in the front of the knee or a clicking sensation when flexing the joint. Running regularly can throw the kneecap or patella out of alignment. This may cause the causing pain and clicking sound.
Runner’s knee is first treated with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee, rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy, along with orthopedic bracing, will help in reducing pain and swelling. Surgery is rarely needed, except when the kneecap is severely dislocated.
Degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, mostly affects older adults as the cartilage in the joint gradually wears out. As a result, the bones in the knee start rubbing against each other. This causes pain, clicking noises and loss of motion.
Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around the joint and the joint itself. Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, braces, and lubricant injections are usually combined for an effective treatment plan. Patients may need to lose weight to reduce pressure on the joint. If conservative treatment fails, arthroscopic surgery or a knee replacement may be necessary.
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