Knee popping or crepitus, also known as a noisy joint, can be caused by a number of different things. When we’re trying to do more, whether that entails taking longer walks, more sessions in the gym, or getting out into our gardens this spring, constant popping noises can be alarming and annoying. If this condition limits you, BioPed clinicians are here to help you get to the bottom and treat your noisy knees.
5 Tips to Help You Understand and Treat Those Popping Knees
Find the reason for the noise – is there pain with the pop?
The first question to ask when you notice knee popping is: does pain follow the noise? If the answer is no, we are most likely looking at either, gas bubbles forming in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joint and they pop periodically, like a cracking knuckle. Or we could be looking at a ligament or tendon getting stuck on a bony or rough area of the surrounding bones and snapping into place once it reaches the point of no return.
However, if there is pain, this could be an indication of some sort of knee injury, most likely a tear in the tendons, ligaments or a meniscal injury, or something more chronic, like arthritis. Knowing the cause or the source of the popping can be instrumental in helping to treat the issue, and help you on your road to recovery.
This handy acronym is useful if you have an injury as the source of the knee popping.
R – rest. Giving yourself a break from intense exercise can be helpful in the case of a flare up or acute injury. Outside of those circumstances you may need to take more frequent rest breaks while hiking the trails or engaging in physical activity to keep swelling and pain to a minimum.
I – ice. In the case of acute injury and swelling, ice can help soothe areas of inflammation.
C – compression. Whether in the form of a wrap, stocking or knee brace, compression can help increase proprioception in the knee, keep swelling down, and hold the joint together to minimize pain and clicking / popping.
E – elevate. In acute injury, elevation is key to keep swelling and pain down. Resting the knee in an elevated position can help lead to faster healing and help you get some rest as well.
One common cause of popping not associated with injury is hyper flexibility. If you can hyperextend your joints, chances are, you experience more popping because the ligaments and tendons are moving in a greater range over ridges and areas of bone they wouldn’t normally move around. Strengthening the surrounding muscles to enhance control of the joint can help decrease the hypermobility and overall instances of popping.
This technique can also be useful in injury recovery, to help the surrounding musculature support the joint.
We have experienced fitters in all of our clinics who can assist you in choosing the correct knee brace for your joint needs. We carry a variety of brace options, from over-the-counter to custom made devices. Bauerfeind is one of our most prominent knee brace brands for the over-the-counter assortment.
We measure your leg and fit you into the level of stability required for your condition. All of the Bauerfeind knee braces are a compression knit sleeve with varying degrees of additional rigidity. Holding the joint more securely and making you more aware of its mobility can help to reduce popping by reducing hyper-flexibility or instability in the joint.
Custom-made or over-the-counter orthotics can help reduce knee popping by stabilizing the chain of movement from the ground up. When there is increased flexibility in the foot, it can pull the leg out of alignment, causing the knee to move in unexpected ways, pulling ligaments and tendons over areas of bone it wouldn’t otherwise rub on. If you have a more rigid foot structure, the problem could be a lack of shock absorption, which leads to that ground impact travelling up the leg, into the knee joint where it can cause popping. BioPed Canadian Certified Pedorthists are able to assess and assist in the fabrication and fitting of custom made orthotics to give you relief from painful or simply annoying popping knees.