When you walk down the street, climb a flight of stairs, or even sit down to watch your favorite television program, do you occasionally hear a clicking or "popping" sound coming from your knee?
Knee clicking tends to occur when the joints are being extended, and at times, it can be accompanied by severe pain. The knee starts to click because, more often than not, there is a part of the knee that is not in its proper position.
As a result, there may be other portions of the leg that are being used more frequently to compensate for the part of the knee that's out of place.
But I often get asked, "Why do I experience knee clicking? Should I be worried?"
Why Do We Experience Knee-Clicking?
There are various reasons why you can experience knee clicking. Below are some of the most common causes:
- Unnecessary tissue around the knee: After a serious injury to the knee, if it is not treated or if it does not heal properly, you can develop unnecessary tissue or plica around the knee. When this happens, the tissue gets tangled between certain parts of the joint, which causes the clicking noise when you extend the joint.
- Runner's knee: You might think that constant running is beneficial for your health, but if you put a lot of stress on the tibia, you can develop runner's knee. This occurs when the kneecap is out of line and does not track properly along the femur. The tibia and lower bones in the leg protect the kneecap, but when these bones are not aligned properly, the knee will click when you bend it.
- Severe damage to the meniscus and shock absorber: The meniscus is a lubricator between the bones of your knee, and if damaged and not healed properly, the balance of your knee is thrown off and can also cause the knee to turn when you put force on it-this can cause the knee to develop a clicking sound.
- Arthritis: Arthritis in your legs can spread to the knees. The knees can become inflamed and align differently, which will cause a clicking sound.
- ACL tear and MCL tear: Both tears will cause the knee to click; the tears can also lead to chronic pain, knee stiffness, and tenderness.