What Do Noisy Knees Mean?

If you or someone you know has ever had a knee replacement, you might be very wary of any abnormal knee behavior. Knees that make noise aren’t always a cause for concern, but how do you know the difference?

Noisy but Neutral

As a general rule, if your knees pop, crunch, or crackle but don’t display any other symptoms aside from noise, then it’s unlikely that you have a major problem. Knees can make all sorts of sounds that are “normal” and caused by benign situations. For example, a pop or snap could simply be a tendon or band that is moving over a bony protrusion. If your kneecap is not completely aligned, it may rub on other internal components of the knee and make a sound. The fluid in your joints may create a vacuum effect, and result in a popping sound. No real harm is caused, and this harmless knee or joint noise is so common that it even has a name–crepitus! Noise alone should not alarm you, and does not carry an eventuality of knee replacement or any extreme treatment. You may wish to work on conditioning the knee in these cases, as that may help keep your knee healthy and remove some strain on the joint. Knee_replacement

Accompanied by Other Symptoms

Knee sounds that should send you directly to the orthopedic doctor are those that come with other symptoms. Any type of pain that occurs with a popping sound could be a torn meniscus or a ruptured or torn ligament. Other knee noises that may be accompanied by pain often include arthritis, runner’s knee, or a more significant kneecap injury. Noise plus swelling is another red flag that should send you running to your orthopedic specialist. Treating these types of issues in their early stages can help you avoid major repairs such as knee replacement later.

Noisy knees can be a warning sign of a bigger problem, but are just as often a common and harmless condition. Anytime you have joint concerns, contact your orthopedic doctor for expert advice.

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