What makes your knee sound crunchy?

If your knee sounds crunchy, it is usually caused by the cartilage underneath your kneecap being abnormal. When this happens, your kneecap slides into the groove of your femur and will engage abnormally and tend to make a crunching feeling or noise as it slides down. There is also popping of the knee. Sometimes a single pop in your knee when you bend it can be caused by an air bubble forming and collapsing in the joint fluid inside your knee. If you have really bad arthritis of the knee, the bones will rub against each other causing significant pain and something we call crepitus. True crepitus can be differentiated from simple knee crunching as it is more of a rubbing sound, and the findings of severe arthritis will be present on x-ray.  At Easy Orthopedics in Colorado Springs, we frequently see and treat those with knee pain and crunchy knees.

How do I stop my knees from crunching?

If your knees are crunching, and it doesn’t hurt, your best bet is to leave it alone. Almost always, you don’t need any medical intervention for a painless knee that crunches. But if it really bothers you then there are a few things you can do. The first is to determine what is causing the crunching. If it is a simple knee pop when you bend it, then there isn’t much you can do about that. If the crushing is more from your kneecap sliding abnormally, then there are exercises you can do which involve hamstring stretching, VMO muscle + core + hip external rotator muscle strengthening. 

Does knee crunching go away?

Knee crunching generally doesn’t go away on its own. Again, if it is painless then there is no harm in ignoring it. If it is painful then it may be worth seeing your orthopedic surgeon to determine the cause of the pain and crushing, and if any intervention is needed for your crunchy knees. That being said, if your knee crunching is from your kneecap sliding abnormally, you may be able to get rid of it with some targeted stretches and exercises.

Does exercise help crepitus?

True crepitus of the knees from severe arthritis will not get better with exercises. You may be able to lessen your pain some, but you won’t be able to really stop the bone from rubbing on the bone which causes the crepitus. If your knees are popping and it isn’t crepitus, but due to patellar maltracking, then exercises will certainly help with the crunchiness and associated pain.

I hope we were able to answer some of your questions about what makes your knee sound crunchy. If you would like us to evaluate your knee and are in the Colorado area, contact us below to make an appointment.

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(719) 203 7552

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