Knee Popping: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Popping knee syndrome, subluxation and arthritis are some of the most common conditions which can result to knee popping. If you are seated for a long period in one position and move into a dynamic position, you will feel knee popping. Most people find this feeling really discomforting and very uncomfortable. The feeling comes with other discomforting pains especially in older people besides the actual popping sensation. These old men and women have also stated that they experience pains on all parts of the knee if not some. To understand more, read on and learn some of the possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of knee popping.

Knee Popping

What is knee popping?

First, there are three main types of noises in the knee;


1) Pain free popping– noise in the knee that often occurs without pain, in which case, should not be worrying.

2) Painful popping noise after injury– sometimes, when the knee is injured, for instance twisting awkwardly, there is often a sudden, loud pop noise at the same time to indicate damage to the knee.

3) Recurrent painful noise not caused by injuryknee pain and popping can occur gradually with no obvious cause.

You may experience knee popping, snapping or grinding sounds whenever you twist, walk or bend the knee. Knee popping without pain or instability is just air bubbles in the joint or tendons and ligaments that snap over the joint. The sensation often indicates a serious health problem. When it happens without any knee pain and discomfort however, it is usually taken as a normal occurrence. However, when it occurs too often along with pain and discomfort in the knee during movements, it becomes a concern.


Common causes

Joint Cavitation– tiny air bubbles of gas form in the knee joint and in the synovial fluid which protects the articular cartilage through friction reduction. When these small air bubbles burst quickly, they make a popping sound in the joint. The air is usually carbon dioxide released from the synovial fluid. There is usually no harm in this.

Patella imbalance– the main function of the kneecap (patella) is to protect the underlying tissues of the knee from injury and infection. Due to dehydration however, too little or excess physical exercises, the patella can weaken together with other parts of the knee. The kneecap then gets pulled to one side because of unexpected leg movement. This not only causes pain, but also popping sounds when the knee is moved.

-Strenuous workouts– this is a common complaint by many athletes. The reason could be imbalanced fluids in the knee due to the space between the bone surface, cartilages and ligaments being exerted pressure or stretched. For as long as there is no pain, this condition is no threat and should not be a cause for concern.


Other possible causes of popping sounds in the knee include; overweight, improper exercising and remedies and subluxation, which is simply incomplete dislocation of the knee.


Symptoms and diagnosis

One of the most important factors of knee popping diagnosis is thinking about the symptoms that accompany it. Knowing when the popping began is important in choosing the appropriate treatment method. If there was a loud sound when injured the knee, there is a possibility of a torn ligament. When you dislocate the knee, a pop may also be heard. The diagnosis may be different if the pain preceded a popping sound.


Possible treatments for Knee Popping

Snapping or popping in the knee is not always a serious medical condition because with time, it goes away by itself. If the popping is accompanied by pain and other uncomfortable symptoms however, there is need for concern.

Medical approach- you may want to consider the services of a medical professional who can help you best. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider. The practitioner will most likely conduct a physical examination and you may undergo some diagnostic tests. It is important to take all the tests so that the right diagnosis is attained. If the correct reason for popping is known, the doctor will prescribe medications and make some recommendations.

Knee exercises- the knees are made for stability. Strengthen the leg muscles, quadriceps, but more specifically, hamstrings and glutes to increase the stability of the knee joint thus reduce popping in these joints.

You can also engage in other effective exercises such as jumping and squatting. Remember not to engage in exercises that hurt, and always eat right.

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