Knee Popping Problems With Relief Tips

Knee PoppingThere are three kinds of knee popping problems (Crepitus) which are more common than you think. For the most part, the popping in your knee is more annoying than dangerous.

Still, it’s always best to know what the sound is especially if you feel pain. This article focuses on knee popping sounds and will explain what causes it and how to get rid of sounds and pain.

Knee popping without pain

If you are experiencing knee popping with no pain you can probably assume it’s due to the soft tissue (Ligaments and Tendons) in the joints. Sometimes the knee cap (Patella) is a bit out of alignment and rubs on the adjacent tissues. This can cause a popping sound in your knee.

Another common issue is gas bubbles in the knee. When there are changes in joint pressure, cavitation or gas bubbles form a cavity in the joint fluid and make a popping sound. This sound is usually painless and occurs when you move your knee joint. It’s similar to cracking your back when you twist.

Relief Tips

Most doctors agree that these issues aren’t serious in nature. However, if you are experiencing pain contact your medical professional.

Knee popping after injury

Knee Popping (4 Ligament of the Knee)There are four ligaments in the knee that you can damage and cause knee popping sounds and pain:

  1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) stabilizes front-back knee movements & can be sprained or torn if the knee is hyperextended, twisted or bent. It’s a common sports injury that occurs when there is a hard stop or twisting of the knee.
  2. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) also stabilizes front-back knee movements & is an injury that’s the least common in the 4 ligaments.
  3. Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) supports side to side movements & can become injured when there’s a pushing force on the outside of the knee inward.
  4. Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) also supports side to side movements and can become injured when there is a pushing force on the inside of the knee outward.

Relief Tips

For mild to moderate cases use the RICE method for injuries (Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate). You can also take NSAID’s (over the counter pain medication) to relieve some of the discomfort.

However, if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away after applying the above methods contact your medical professional immediately.

Knee popping with recurring pain

In all likelihood one of the following three reasons you are experiencing knee popping with recurring pain.

  1. Meniscus Tear: The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee. If a small piece from the tear gets in your knee it can cause pain associated by sound. More about Meniscus Tear.
  2. Arthritis: The most common arthritis in the knee is osteoarthritis. As the cartilage wears down, the cushion between the joints is lost and the bones start to rub against one another causing a popping sound in the knee. Read Your Arthritic Knee: 10 Tips for Happiness for relief, or our detailed Knee Arthritis Guide for tons of other info.
  3. Chondromalacia Patella (Runner’s Knee): The soft cartilage under the knee cap (patella) can cause friction with the femur (thigh bone) and cause knee popping with recurring pain. Read more about chondromalacia patella here.

Relief Tips

If your pain is moderate then ice, over the counter medication and rest will help greatly. In addition you can elevate your knee and wear a compress or brace for added relief.

However, if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away after applying the above methods contact your medical professional immediately.

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If you are a runner or are very active read 10 Knee Pain Running Tips for relief. Additionally we have countless knee strengthening exercises explained in details, so get your knees working immediately.

For related issues you can also read our knee grinding article, or find out more about diagnosing knee noises here.

What kind of knee popping issues have you suffered and how did you relieve the pain? Please comment below.

Article last updated on January 7th, 2019, first published on February 20, 2013.

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5 thoughts on “Knee Popping Problems With Relief Tips

  1. Hi,

    So when i squat or walk up the stairs both my knees have a cracking sound but sound different from one another… it used to hurt when i used to put my weight on it but i did physio therapy and the pain went away. My right knee sound also went away but my left knee has always made a crackling sound and when i put my hand on it, it feels like something is broken. it does not have a pop soud but a crackling sound thing is its weird because it doesnt really hurt and i reguarly go to the gym.

    1. popping without pain is quite normal. If it doesn’t hurt I would casually mention to your doctor. Think of it like cracking your knuckles or back.

  2. Help! I’ve been doing a lot of running and I might have injured my knee today. When I bend or put weight on it, it hurts. It is also making popping sounds when I move it. Should I see a doctor/physio? I’m currently icing and compressing it with a strap!

    1. The word help in conjunction with pain might mean you should go see a doctor. Popping sounds with pain can be quite serious if not looked at properly. Read knee popping problems to see some of the possible injuries you might have.

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