Have you ever noticed an unusual sound from your knees when you bend down to pick some fallen object?
This sound is the joint sound that we call “crepitus.” This happens due to the carbon dioxide build-up in the joint, which releases gas bubbles. These bubbles burst as the joints adjust themselves at a rapid speed.
The noise causes no concern most of the time. Some people believe that cracking knees is a symptom of impending arthritis. However, no research supports the cause.
This article will discuss some of the causes of why knees crack, along with exercises and home treatments that you can try at home to get relief in such situations.
What Does it Mean When my Knees Crack?
Cracking of knees can mean a lot of things in a general context. You should consult a healthcare provider if the knee cracking is painful. Knee crack can come from many sources, including degeneration of soft tissues such as cartilage or meniscus.
Knee crack also happens when the thigh muscle is too tight, and it may pull the kneecap, affecting its free gliding movement.
Such degenerations are quite common in older people as joints create a vacuum at this age, which leads to the collapse of the gas bubbles, causing knee cracks with noise.
What Causes Knees to Crack?
- Misaligned Muscles
The misaligned knee caps put the kneecap out of balance over a period that led to knee cracks.
It creates kicking or popping sounds as the cartilage is worn down and leads to an early problem of arthritis. Apart from arthritis, it causes deterioration of joints.
The umbrella term, arthritis, is an inflammation that occurs in the joints. It leads to the cracking, popping, and clicking sound in the joints.
This happens due to the erosion of the bone and cartilage that prohibits the knee’s ability to function properly. Lack of gliding leads to cracking knees.
- Some Previous Knee Injury
Sometimes, we never pay attention to our old physical issues, and they become severe without our realization.
Injuries during the twenties or thirties may develop cracking and popping sounds later when we grow up. Then, it becomes intense and requires strong medications that are sometimes hard to intake.
- Loose Cartilage
It is the primary issue that causes problems in lubrication and cushioning your knees. When the cartilage around your skin is loose, it creates a problem with your joints operating well and creates popping, cracking, and clicking sounds in the knees.
4 Exercises to Stop Knees From Cracking
- Inner Thigh Squats
The inner thigh is weaker than the quad muscle, and heavy inner thigh squats are a must for strengthening it.
For this, place your shoulder wide apart parallel to the toes at a 45-degree angle before starting the squatting. Doing 4 sets of 15 each is a must for getting good results.
- Calf Release
It is a self-myofascial technique that relieves muscle tension through pressure. It also keeps the kneecap aligned by pointing your foot up and down for 30 seconds and repeating it. Before it, you should sit with your calf on top of a massage ball.
It stretches the muscles and tightens them to get elongated muscles.
- Hip Flexor Release
Sometimes, misaligned hips cause knee pain that can be combated through hip flexor release exercise.
In this, you should lie your stomach and place a high ball some inches below the hip bone. Bending 90 degrees and sliding as far as you can help align the hipbone.
- IT Band Release
The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs from hip to shin. It is attached to the knee and helps in moving the joint.
In this, you can lie down and place a foam roller between your hip and knee. Then, slide your leg up and do it on the roller as far as you can tolerate.
Treatment Options For Knee Injuries
- Knee Brace
Soft and rigid knee braces provide mild to moderate support for better protection and stability.
You can get the knee brace from any nearby pharmacy or medical supply store. You can even order the right brace online from manufacturers.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can help in reducing inflammation around the knee area that helps in pain reduction. It improves the function of the knee joint and makes it easy for you to bend, squat, and kneel without pain.
With this treatment, you can relax without worrying about any future problems for your knees and give it a good healing time.
If none of the methods are helping you, you can consult your doctor and opt for surgical procedures to treat knee cartilage. In the surgery, the torn segment of the knee will be removed for stability and good functioning of the knee.
But, treating your knee with non-surgical methods is still advisable because it is expensive.
The RICE method can be the best option for treating knee sprain or knee pop. It follows the basic steps that are –
- Resting well for the inflammation to go away on its own.
- Icing the area for proving cooling effects and healing.
- Compressing the area with a soft pillow for relaxing the muscles.
- Elevating the knee above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.
Have you seen how knee cracks occur? Hope you have found the information helpful.
Knee cracks are common in both children and adults these days. People must be cautious enough to take care of themselves before the problem turns too severe to handle.
Exercises that strengthen the quadriceps, or the muscles in the front of the thigh, can help protect the knees. Walking, cycling and swimming are all exercises that help this muscle group.
Wearing supportive shoes, warming up before and after exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight are effective ways to protect the knees.