Top 5 Reasons Why Your Knee Makes a Popping Sound

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Knee Makes a Popping Sound

Our bodies make weird noises all the time. It’s something that we all know and perhaps not something we like to talk about, but it happens. One of those potentially strange noises that we all hear from time to time — or perhaps more frequently — is a popping sound in your knee. Perhaps it’s just an addition to your life that you’re used to, or maybe it’s something that just started happening. Regardless, if you are interested in learning more about knee popping and if there is something you can do about it, keep reading.

Common Causes of Knee Popping

As you can imagine, there are quite a few reasons that could potentially be behind your knee popping noise, but there are some that are more common than others. Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. Mechanical popping -- One of the common causes for a knee to make a popping sound is from a meniscus tear, which is sometimes referred to as mechanical popping. This is when there is a loose piece of cartilage moving back and forth in the knee. This movement can create a popping or clicking sound.
  2. Tendon snapping -- Another common cause is your tendon getting caught on the knee as it bends. This is most common when you have a swollen tendon, and the irritated tendon will “pop” as it gets caught and then releases from the knee as it bends.
  3. Crepitus -- Crepitus is another popular cause for that popping sound is just the regular wear and tear that your knee goes through. That is, wear on the cartilage that cushions the knee itself. As you age, you may be dealing with slow destruction of the cartilage. When the cartilage is non-existent or it’s there but brittle, you end up with bone on bone friction, which can cause all sorts of noises when you move (i.e.: clicking, popping, etc.).
  4. Chondromalacia -- If you’re a runner or someone who puts a lot of stress on your knee, you may be over-doing it. This could result in what is more commonly known as “Runner’s Knee”. The knee becomes injured and inflamed, and as it heals, the knee can make a popping-like sound.
  5. Ligament tear -- In this particular situation, you will hear a loud popping sound at the exact moment that the ligament tears.

Remember that this isn’t an exhaustive list, so if none of them feel like they fit your situation, or you find that you are dealing with pain or serious discomfort, getting your knee looked at by a professional is always a good idea. This video might also give you a better understanding:

Why Does My Knee Snap, Crack, or Pop? Is it Harmful? What To Do?


How to Deal with Knee Popping

Now that we’ve covered some of the common causes, is there anything you can do about it? Well, that depends on your particular situation if course. If you are dealing with a ligament tear, then it’s not that simple. In that case, immediate care by a qualified medical practitioner is needed. However, here are some practical options to consider if you are not necessarily feeling any pain, but you are concern with the noise your knee is making:

  • Give it time -- If your knee popping is due to in injury or overuse, give it time and rest to make sure that it heals as it should. This means that you should do your best to let the knee recover with rest and no physical stress on the area, for as long as it takes for the popping/pain to disappear.
  • Stay flexible -- Generally staying flexible and limber is great to consider for your overall knee health. Especially if you are someone who is prone to dealing with osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions. Some great options to help with this are swim-based aerobics, yoga or other exercises geared toward flexibility.
  • Exercise -- When your knee recovers, staying active is also important for protecting further atrophy or injury in the future. Going on walks and adding in other exercise to your day to day life can help you keep your knee and its parts strong, pliable and as healthy as possible.
  • Monitor your pain -- Pain should never be ignored. From a dull ache to a sharp hot pain, log your pain levels on a daily basis. After a while, you should notice a trend (i.e.: sharp pain after going up stairs, dull ache every time you walk more than 20 minutes, etc.). Then, if it doesn’t go away, discuss the issues with your doctor to get some recommendations on how to resolve the issue.


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Understanding what may be causing your knee popping is an important step in getting the help that you need. We hope that this article was able to shed some light. If you have any experience with this, we’d love to hear from you. How did you fix your problem? Just leave a comment down below!

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